Knights of the road or pawns of the government?

4th July 2016

Logistics BusinessKnights of the road or pawns of the government?

Rather than raising the drawbridge real or imaginary, it now seems that Brexit is going to move ‘The Jungle’ from Calais to Dover, at least if a group of French mayors have their way. A perceived tightening up of illegal immigration is likely to induce even greater efforts on the part of the ‘illegals’ to get into the UK ahead of any such changes, again putting haulage companies where pawns have always been – in the front line.

For the larger haulage companies, the government’s insistence on fines for inadvertently playing host to stowaways is a matter between them and their insurance providers. But for the small concerns, often just one man and his truck, it is a major concern, a family, at £2,000 a head, potentially leading to bankruptcy.

With industry sources claiming that fines to date have cost haulage companies almost £7 million, this threat is real and likely to worsen as attitudes, post-Brexit, harden. But in the gloom there is one shaft of sunlight, a Knight’s gambit perhaps. Against an attitude of ‘guilty until proven innocent’, a company able to prove that it has taken all reasonable steps to secure its vehicles can escape these fines.

And the nature of the gambit? The techy fruits of an inventive Dutch mind, not a finger in the dyke this time, but a box of tricks not much bigger than a tin of sardines that can detect any disturbance in the trailer and immediately relay that information to a nominated cell phone belonging to the driver, the company or a security firm – or all three.

Of course, there have been all manner of gizmos touted to drivers and companies alike but the OptoGuard has a number of features that sets it apart from the rest. One is particularly welcome when even the government acknowledges that it is difficult to determine between the wholly innocent driver and the less scrupulous keeping up the old English tradition of smuggling. Set the OptoGuard to default to the company’s phone and any accessing of the trailer is immediately flagged, whoever opened the tailgate – employee or illegal.

Meanwhile, this clever little device can also secure sensitive loads thanks to the remotely controled lock on the trailerdoor, the ‘sensorised’ iCord or the special cargo cover. Or track a stolen vehicle in real-time, sending information to the authorities in the event of outright theft. Total vehicle security for under GBP 400,- may be a gambit worth playing when the alternatives are so onerous.

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