Enhancing Cargo Protection And Risk Mitigation in Inland Navigation


As a component of a net zero emissions strategy, many logistics businesses are exploring alternative modes of transport, including less polluting modes such as rail and inland waterways. While different from other modes, security and safety hazards still exist. Thus, proactive risk mitigation to protect against loss, damage, and theft is required, particularly during transshipment operations, reports TT Club.

Logistics landscape and security objectives 

In logistics on inland waterways, the focal point of risk assessment is understanding and evaluating local infrastructure in the context of security. The objective is to devise a robust security management plan that ensures seamless operational processes during transshipment while prioritizing the safety of personnel and cargo.

The core of a security management plan should revolve around four key elements: deterrence, detection, delay, and response. This strategic framework aims to prevent illicit activities through physical or psychological barriers, swiftly detect and assess security breaches, introduce delays to unauthorized actions, and deploy effective responses to safeguard the transshipment process.

Risk determination criteria 

Before crafting a comprehensive risk mitigation plan, it’s crucial to grasp the intricacies of transshipment risks and associated security considerations. Téthys’ approach involves applying structured criteria to assess risks linked to the cargo and the waterway environment. These criteria guide risk assessments and inform tailored security recommendations.

Téthys categorize risk factors into two main types:

  1. Contributing risk factors include phases of transit and stationary positions, environmental influences, designated parking areas, the presence of barge crews, heightened risk scenarios due to safety concerns, and media presence.
  2. Predefined risks cover unauthorized access, theft, assault, fire risk, manipulation of ship engines or propellers, and acts of vandalism.

In summary, these criteria focus on the likelihood of unauthorized access and intrusion, pivotal in assessing navigational risks and formulating effective security strategies.

Comprehensive risk assessment 

Risk assessment should encompass a thorough site survey and analysis of socio-economic and environmental factors along the waterway. By collaborating with national and regional security authorities, it is possible to enhance understanding of potential threats and tailor security measures accordingly.

Navigational route assessment is of great importance, deploying tailored security measures based on cargo characteristics, transit phases, and potential risk scenarios. Environmental evaluation is similarly key to success, leveraging ‘Crime Prevention through Environmental Design’ (CPTED) principles to identify vulnerabilities and implement protective measures. Country-specific analysis is additionally prudent, incorporating insights from local law enforcement and stakeholders to address specific risks associated with inland navigation.

Security management plan 

Building upon the holistic risk assessment, a robust security management plan should be developed that aligns security capabilities with identified risks. This plan should integrate personnel, procedures, technologies, and quality assurance measures to support deterrence, detection, delay, and response strategies.

For cargo shipments on inland waterways, the significant risk factor is unauthorized access to the vicinity of the transshipment, including barges and push boats. That particular risk factor increases as the speed decreases down to the engine stop, such as where the transshipment passes nautical obstacles such as bridges, ship locks or chokepoints, terminals or waiting points, bunkering stations, and border crossing points.

The security management plan should be based on the pillars of communication, personnel, equipment, and CPTED and associated with a quality assurance management system and incident monitoring, reporting, and investigations system.

However, a security plan is a ‘living’ document and requires review, adjustment, and modifications as required by the actual location to achieve the best security conditions for a safe and secure arrival at the designated site.

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Source: TT Club


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