December 2023 – The security committee of the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) had a meeting with representatives of the public security agency of Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), on Tuesday, December 12. For five years now, the sector has kept an eye on transportation safety and on the prevention of losses caused by cargo thefts, through the adoption of preventive measures. In 2019, the sector recorded 26 occurrences in the entire South Brazil Region, in 2022, there were only 8 occurrences, and only one of these occurrences took place in Rio Grande do Sul. In 2023, there were six occurrences: four thefts of raw tobacco cargoes and two of processed tobacco (in containers) destined for export.
SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke commented on the good results achieved in the past growing seasons with the decrease in cargo thefts, in particular, thefts of tobacco transported from farm gate to processing companies, or to the point of purchase. “We keep the transporters aware, insisting on the necessary precautions, but this new theft tactic focused on processed tobacco cargoes is cause for concern, considering that intense movement of containers is expected over the next months”, he argued.
The theft of two containers of processed tobacco heading for the port of Rio Grande took place in similar way and in the same region, along the BR 471 road between Pântano Grande and the BR 392 road, a well-known export corridor of the sector, but these are remote and dead zone places where there are no mobile phone signals. The prevention of new occurrences was the main target of the meeting between the representatives of the associate companies and Major Marcos Migotto Carneiro, Commander in Chief of the Regional Military Police; Regional Police Chief Officer Luciano Fernandes Menezes; and lieutenant Marcio Fontoura, from the Highway Police Department.
The scheduled actions include patrols on specific stretches of the road, in particular, specific stretches when shipping containers are intensively transported, limitation periods for road traffic hours, pre-defined stops, organizing truck convoys or use alternative routes, DAER officials should be contacted with an eye on the best routes to follow.
According to chief police officer Menezes, investigation has progressed considerably, but in the meantime, we have to follow the security policy and procedure manual. “We already have a perception of authorship and they are no beginners”, the police officer says.
The exporting companies, along with the transporters, are evaluating operational improvements for reducing the time it takes for the containers to arrive at the port, so as to avoid, for example, evening transportation. “If evening transportation is absolutely necessary, the companies can previously contact the security organs asking for an escort to accompany the truck”, police officer Menezes reinforced.
The representatives of the Military Brigade insisted that speedy exchange of information and, if possible, prior to the departure of the truck, could be decisive for favorable results, especially in the so-called dead zones, with no cellphone coverage.
More guidelines on the management of transport risks can be accessed at a folder devised by the SindiTabaco Security Committee, available site www.sinditabaco.com.br.
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