Trucking is an essential part of the success of the global market. It is the main form of cargo transport in the U.S., where truckers moved 11 billion tons of cargo in 2020 alone. This cargo is worth billions, and unsurprisingly, there are always people willing to relieve trucking companies of their valuable cargo.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that cargo theft in the U.S. costs companies between $15 to $35 billion annually. Recently, cargo theft has escalated due to increased traffic and congested supply chains.
You can improve the security of your assets, cargo and employees by staying informed and taking action to mitigate the risks. Keep reading to learn all about the steps you can take to reduce your risk of trailer and cargo theft.
How Common Is Cargo Theft?
Cargo theft in the U.S. and Canada is a significant problem. According to CargoNet figures quoted in Business Insurance, cargo theft is on the rise, too. The 2022 first quarter figures were 73% greater in value terms than in the same quarter last year.
However, the number of reported thefts remained the same as last year at 319. It’s also important to note that cargo theft takes the shape of many different forms.
Cargo theft may be on a large scale or a small scale, depending on the situation. It can include pilfering off the trailer, cargo theft from warehouses, hijacked trucks and the total theft of a trailer. All of these issues add up to major financial losses for the transporter.
9 Tips for Reducing Trailer and Cargo Theft
Take these few simple steps to reduce your risks of trailer and cargo theft.
Don’t Share Your Drop Off Location
Sharing your drop-off location could make you a target, so keep your destination a secret. Turn this practice into company policy, and train your employees about the importance of staying quiet about their drop-off zones.
With GPS tracking equipment, you’ll always know where your truck is at any given time. Geofencing apps are readily available, not to mention an essential part of truck safety.
This technology can alert you as soon as your vehicle diverges from its planned route. If you’ve installed a vehicle immobilizer, you can respond to the alarm by remotely deactivating the vehicle until it is found and then returned to you.
Review Supply Chain Partners Security Procedures
Your cargo is as secure as the weakest link in your supply chain. Inadequate security measures along your logistics routes could leave you vulnerable to cargo and trailer theft.
Review the security measures at each facility you use along the way, and make sure you know what route your vehicle will take. If for any reason, the driver is forced to deviate from the planned route, the driver must inform the dispatch office for safety reasons.
Loyal employees are a vital part of any successful business, but there are certain people you cannot trust. Make sure you conduct a background check and check for a criminal record regarding the people you hire.
Monitor employees and investigate any suspicious behavior. Your business should have a zero-tolerance attitude in response to employee dishonesty.
Use Warehouse Surveillance
Security cameras play a vital part in keeping cargo safe and secure. Security specialists can quickly install cameras both inside and outside of the warehouse.
Set up cameras that can record parking lots, loading bays and the interior of your company’s trucks. Ensure that the warehouse staff is trained, while also ensuring that the physical movement of cargo is quick and efficient.
High-resolution cameras and remote surveillance can help you quickly recognize problems as they occur. Then, you can immediately take proactive measures to prevent cargo theft.
Conduct Carrier Background Checks
If you utilize owner-operators, insist that they, as well as their employees, also undergo background checks. Employee and contractor collusion in cargo theft is not uncommon.
Practice Safe Parking Habits
You are less likely to lose cargo when your truck is in motion. Your rig and your cargo are most vulnerable when the truck is parked, so it’s best to train your drivers on how to practice safe parking habits.
For instance, instruct them to only park in well-lit areas, and always stay alert, especially in regard to suspicious vehicles. Drivers must always lock the truck when parked and ensure that all of their security equipment is in place.
Utilize the Correct Equipment
Make sure your assets are protected with the most up-to-date security equipment. This is easy to do because high-security locks are inexpensive and effective.
Here are three examples of essential tools to keep in your cargo security arsenal:
- King Pin Locks: Ensure that no thief can hook up your trailer
- Landing Gear Locks: Prevent upliftment of a parked trailer
- Cargo Gate Locks: Secures over the road trucks
Stay Updated on Theft Trends
Learn about crime hotspots and determine the best times to avoid them. For instance, cargo thieves often find busy ports and their surrounding areas particularly attractive. Also, cargo theft rates are highest in the states of Texas, Florida, and California.
According to the NICB, most cargo theft takes place on Mondays and Fridays within 200 miles of the pick-up location. Keep your drivers informed about the latest trends and frame your company policies around this information.
Safeguard Drivers and Prevent Cargo Theft
You can safeguard your employees and reduce the risk of cargo theft by analyzing your supply chain vulnerabilities, followed by taking action to mitigate the risks. Set security policies in place, and train your staff on appropriate practices with safety as the focus. Make sure that you hire and retain honest staff as well.
Use modern security to ensure truck safety. Invest in technologies like geo-fencing and remote vehicle demobilization. Also, make sure you are aware of cargo theft hotspots along your routes and notify your drivers about this information as well.
Cargo can be stolen from trucks or trailers when they are stationary or in the process of being unloaded and loaded. Also, trucks and trailers can also be hijacked or stolen.
Cargo theft in the U.S. is most common in Texas, Florida and California.
Cargo theft affects the consumer the most because the losses are passed along to the end user. The stolen goods will re-enter the supply chain via gray markets. Companies that claim cargo theft losses will face increased insurance premiums and deductibles as well.
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