With over 80% of all cargo thefts reported to TAPA involving criminal attacks on trucks, it’s hardly surprising to learn that the number of TAPA Trucking Security Requirements (TSR) certifications are increasing around the world … and many more are expected globally since the publication of the new 2020 revision of the TSR Standard at the start of July.

As always, the TAPA Standards Team and Steve McHugh, Executive Director Standards, are continuing to look for ways to provide the best support and advice for companies adopting the TAPA Standards. This month saw their latest offering with the publication of a new Locking Systems Guidance (LSG) document looking at one of the most important layers of road transport vehicle security.

To assist in the project, TAPA called upon the expertise of two of its most experienced members in this field; Pieter Sutorius, former owner of Trans-Safety LOCKS, and Greg Haber, President of Babaco Alarm Systems Inc. to deliver practical help and information on vehicle threats and risk assessment as well as locking systems which are commercially available to help protect road transport vehicles, drivers and cargoes.  

The document provides:

·        Additional detailed information on locking system solutions not covered in the TAPA TSR Security Standard

·        Information on different categories of locking systems to help TAPA members in the selection of suitable products

·        Examples of locking systems and their intended use


The Guidance states: ‘The enemy of the road transport criminal is time and noise. By installing high quality locking systems, you are deterring some criminals from even trying to make an attempt.

‘Vehicle locking systems should be designed to assist in supporting the basic security principles of deter, detect, delay, respond and, when used in conjunction with additional security measures, such as electronic sensors and alarms, can provide a high level of confidence in the security design. Unsuitable locking systems such as plastic seals or low-grade padlocks/chains etc. will invite the attention of criminals. Even minor upgrades in locking systems could improve protection of the cargo.’

While keen to offer help to support member companies, TAPA’s neutral status means the Association is unable to endorse any products. Its advice to members is to always conduct their own analysis before choosing the best products and suppliers to meet their supply chain resilience requirements. Despite claims by some providers of locking systems, no locking systems have been certified by TAPA to meet the TAPA Standards.

The LSG aims to help companies find their way through the maze of locking systems in the market which will satisfy the features and capabilities set out in the TSR Standard as part of the certification audit. TAPA recognizes that identifying locks that meet or exceed the TSR requirements can sometimes be a challenge for auditors and end-users.

The Guidance highlights key factors to be considered in the locking systems appraisal process:

       The locking system could be installed in or on suitable doors and/or frames of the vehicle, so that the cargo compartment door and frame are incorporated into the locking system, providing additional protection to the vehicle.

       High security locks should not be able to be detached from the vehicle by cutting or forcing the adjacent fixings. Examples of a robust installation include use of concealed bolts and/or the lock being welded to steel plates or similar, attached to the vehicle.

       Fit-for-purpose can also mean a combination of requirements depending on the vehicle, its load and routes being used. High grade steel locks affixed to external door bars may be judged as sufficient if the vehicle does not stop before reaching its destination. However, if the vehicle must stop one or more times en route, this may create an opportunity for a criminal attack. Trailer external door bars, the door bar fixings or the door hinges can easily be cut rendering the lock ineffective. In this example, the use of just a high-grade lock may not be sufficient to deter an attack. The locking system could be upgraded with additional features such as sensors connected to the telematics system and/or a different locking solution incorporated into the design of the door and frame could be considered.

Locking Systems outlined in the Guidance are categorised into five areas:

       Conventional key operated systems

       Keyless operated systems


       Customized locking systems

       Immobilizing and monitoring systems

Steve McHugh stated: “We are confident that members using TAPA’s Trucking Security Requirements will find the Locking Systems Guidance provides valuable knowledge and insight to help them identify the best solutions for their needs. I am especially grateful to Pieter and Greg for giving us the benefit of their expertise and for seeing this as an opportunity to support TAPA’s global membership and to give something back to the industry. The value of having two leading Subject Matter Experts in this field has enabled us to deliver another great addition to information that supports the TAPA Standards.”    

TAPA’s Locking Systems Guidance can be downloaded here