According to a recent EU study, Europe suffers from a shortage of some 400,000 secure parking spaces for trucks. Truckers often search in vain through multiple parking lots for vacancies, or end up parking right next to the highway in unsafe, unsecure spaces. As a consequence, accidents happen, cargo gets stolen, and drivers suffer from fatigue.
The financial loss due to freight theft alone is estimated at 8.2 billion euros across Europe per year. Seventy-five percent of cargo theft takes place in unsecured parking lots. Consequentially, over 70 percent of European freight carriers would welcome the option of pre-booking secure truck parking spaces.
The good news is that there are, indeed, ways to tackle these problems. One of these solutions is the digital booking platform Bosch Secure Truck Parking, launched in 2017, which alleviates the shortage of parking capacity by offering online reservation of vacant parking spaces available at truck stops, trucking marshalling yards, logistics centers, and other commercial or industrial plots. The newest locations in BSTP system are C4T in Calais, France and Scandinavian Park near Flensburg, Germany.
– We have now around 50 parking locations under contract in the following countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France. We will expand our network of parking areas further across Europe – Dr. Jan-Philipp Weers, Head of Bosch Secure Truck Parking, says for PlutonLogistics.com.
The platform is for dispatchers who plan routes as well as for truck drivers. The dispatcher can use the web portal to inform himself about available parking lots in real-time and can place bookings for his truck drivers. The booking platform also provides comprehensive information on infrastructure and facilities available at truck parking areas. The portal provides information on every parking area’s security features, for example whether it is fenced in, has access control gates, or video surveillance.
The platform lists available infrastructure, such as restrooms and shower facilities, hotels, restaurants, or truck-wash facilities. Vacancy searches allow you to filter the displayed parking spaces according to desired characteristics, such as specific security levels. Such features play an important role, for example in protecting valuable cargo against theft.
This makes it easy to plan routes and rest periods, and helps truckers comply with their mandatory driving times and rest periods. Additionally, also the truck driver himself can place a booking via an app.
If the dispatcher places a booking, both the dispatcher as well as the truck driver receives the booking confirmation. The booking confirmation includes the credentials how the truck driver can enter the parking area (e.g. a QR-code).
– Some parking areas are also equipped with an LPR (license-plate-recognition) camera. In this case, the driver does not need any credentials, as the already attached license plate serves as the mean of identification – Weers says.
The truck drivers does not need to worry about payment. Truck companies that have registred with Bosch Secure Truck parking simply receive a collective invoice for their reservations at the end of each month. This reduce not only the workload, but also any possible contact between individuals, which should be avoided, particulary at a time when coronavirus is a risk.
Ultimately, it is the truckers on the road who benefit most from this solution, because knowing their exact pre-booked parking spot lets them arrive at their overnight destination stress-free.
The majority of Bosch Secure Truck Parking users come from Eastern Europe. The responsive web app is the preferred user channel, Dr. Jan-Philipp Weers says.
Looking for more cooperation partners
Bosch Secure Truck Parking follows the sharing economy approach. The cooperating partners include well-known business enterprises such as one of Germany’s largest supermarket chains REWE or the transport and logistics firms Gebrüder Weiss, DHL and Kuehne + Nagel.
The basic principle of Bosch Secure Truck Parking is as simple as it is plainly obvious: just as with car sharing, logistics providers can help one another by sharing parking spaces (reducing the traffic lowers fuel consumption and prevents drivers from exceeding their permitted driving time; contributes to sustainability because less searching for parking reduces CO2 emissions etc). Also, needed parking capacity for the logistics industry is created without having to pave over more land, while parking lot owners earn additional revenue from expanded usage of their facility.
With an eye to expanding the platform’s capacity to meet the high demand for parking spaces bookable online, Bosch Secure Truck Parking continuously seeks new cooperation partners with available parking spaces. The model for such cooperative partnerships is really quite simple: the lot owner stipulates the price per parking space, while Bosch enables digital booking and payment based on availability. As intermediary, Bosch charges a minor fee for the booking. The platform assumes the risk of any defaults on payment.