Truck trailer with cargo load.
Truck trailer with cargo load.

Eight tips to protect cargo

Protecting your freight and your business from cargo theft is a challenge. Not only does theft of cargo result in financial losses due to stolen goods and equipment, but it can also have far-reaching implications for your operations. The aftermath of a theft often involves potential customer dissatisfaction, delayed shipments, financial loss, and even difficulty in securing future insurance coverage. Cargo thieves tend to target not only high-value items but also goods that are easy to sell and hard to trace. In such a landscape, it’s crucial to implement strategies to safeguard your customer’s freight and, in turn, your business.

Here are some practical tips to enhance your cargo security:

  1. Short-term storage: Limit how long you store cargo in your trailers. Encourage scheduling pickups closer to the delivery time to minimize overnight storage.
  2. Additional locks: Secure your trailers and trucks with extra locks to deter thieves. Options range from bolt seals and padlocks for trailers to cone-shaped pin locks that make it challenging to attach to the kingpin.
  3. Secure your property: Restrict access to fleet yards and employ security personnel to discourage potential thieves. Utilize tall fencing and controlled access gates.
  4. Security cameras: Install active security cameras throughout the yard, focusing on key areas like gates. Adequate lighting enhances surveillance, deters criminals operating in the dark, and provides valuable evidence.
  5. Protect your data: Keep cargo manifests and shipment details confidential. Avoid discussing trailer contents and store paperwork securely, limiting access to sensitive information.
  6. GPS tracking devices: Equip trailers and trucks with cost-effective GPS tracking devices to locate stolen loads quickly and even recover abandoned equipment.
  7. Employee background checks: Conduct background checks on all employees, not just drivers. Checking references can reveal valuable insights into potential hires.
  8. Safe practices on the road: Instruct your drivers to park in well-lit, secure areas during breaks and avoid leaving equipment in unattended locations.

Implementing these tips can help mitigate your exposure to the threat of cargo theft, which can come in many forms. Using safety strategies is important but so is understanding how someone may try to steal your cargo.

Common methods criminals use to steal cargo

Methods for theft are always changing but some common ways criminals may target your cargo could be:

Trailer theft

In many cases, criminals steal cargo and the trailer storing it. It’s also common for thieves to take just the trailer, switch out the vehicle identification number (VIN), and try to resell it. This results in a double loss to the carrier, as the cargo and equipment are both lost. Many thieves even disassemble the trailer to sell its parts.

Thieves can strip the parts of a vehicle until it’s unrecognizable. If the vehicle has been reduced to its individual parts, you also don’t have to declare it with a VIN number when shipping overseas. Many criminals will do this in order to sell the parts.

Yard shopping

Many thieves go to truckyards to check out what is available in trailers to steal, also referred to as yard shopping. “This still happens occasionally, but the majority of thieves now know what exactly to look for,” says Garry Robertson, Claims Director of Northbridge’s Special Investigations Unit. A yard that isn’t properly secured is an attractive target for thieves looking to make a quick profit.

Cyber threats

With the trucking and transportation industry embracing new technology, cybersecurity is a major concern. Cargo theft is often linked to data breaches. Identifying system gaps and understanding potential manipulation tactics by criminals is crucial.

Use of online broker sites

Thieves often browse load broker websites to find details to help them identify a scheduled load. Armed with this information, they fabricate false identities and documents, posing as carrier employees to pick up the load ahead of schedule. By the time the legitimate carrier arrives, the thieves already have the cargo.

To help mitigate unauthorized access, it’s crucial for carriers and online brokers to enforce robust cybersecurity measures across all systems, including the establishment of secure passwords.

Help protect your business with the right coverage

While these strategies may appear simple, when used in combination, they significantly boost your cargo security. In addition, cargo insurance can serve as an essential safety net for your business. Cargo insurance can offer financial protection against the losses incurred due to cargo theft and can help mitigate the adverse effects of these unfortunate incidents. By securing your cargo and having the right insurance coverage in place, you can safeguard your business’s continuity, protect your reputation, and reduce the financial impact of theft. Learn more by visiting our transportation & logistics services insurance landing page.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

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