Protect your cargo with these security tips

Cargo theft increased 15 per cent between 2022 and 2023 in both Canada and the United with the average value of cargo stolen per theft sitting at just over $200,000. If you’re in an industry that regularly ships or stores cargo, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

How secure is my storage site / business location?

Do I transport high value commodities?

Am I at risk for deceptive or fraudulent pick-ups?

After answering those questions ask yourself one more: Am I happy with my current security procedures?

When you implement an effective theft prevention program, you’re not only protecting your cargo, you’re also protecting your business. Having effective security systems in place can help deter criminals and protect your property (or your customers) from theft.

Don’t become an easy target. It’s important to know the risks and take steps to discourage thieves.

Think of your terminal security in three layers:

  1. Security outside your business’ walls
  2. Yard / property perimeter and building security
  3. Employee security

Here are some recommendations to add to your business’s theft prevention plan using the three points above:

Security outside your business’ walls

While it’s important to ensure your physical business property is secure, your efforts shouldn’t end there. It’s important to also secure any digital assets (such as private customer information). Along with that, confirming the identity and legitimacy of any carriers can also protect you from thieves posing as legitimate drivers or employees. The following tips are meant to protect you before you or your employees come in contact with a potential thief:

  • Conduct thorough checks on first-time vendors and business partners. Request service providers to participate in C-TPAT, TAPA, or PIP programs. Develop callback procedures to verify legitimate carriers.
  • Store your company information securely. Thieves can use stolen identification to assume the identity of a legitimate carrier, which allows them to pick up a load deceptively.
  • Encourage employees to report threats or bribes for information on shipments or routes.

Yard perimeter and building security

Protecting the property that houses your cargo is always a top priority. The aftermath of a theft can often involve delayed shipments, financial loss, and difficulty in securing future insurance coverage. Physical barriers and security on your premises can act as effective deterrents against potential criminals.

  • Require visitors to sign in upon entry and to always be accompanied by an employee while on the premises.
  • Provide protective lighting inside and outside the facility. This should include entrances and exits, cargo handling and storage areas, fence lines, and parking areas.
  • Ensure perimeter fencing encloses the areas around cargo handling and storage facilities.
  • Ensure chain link fencing has a top guard.
  • Remove trees or objects that could potentially allow access over fences.
  • Complete daily yard checks and weekly perimeter checks for breaches and make repairs where needed.
  • Include an alarm system around the perimeter fencing that activates when breached.
  • Prohibit private passenger vehicles from parking in or adjacent to cargo handling and storage areas.
  • If possible, ensure the security service or dispatch always has a clear view of the entire yard.
  • Ensure the security kiosk/gate has control of the entry and exit gates.
  • Employ a 24/7 security service that includes guard patrols where commodities are of high value or at a high risk of theft.
  • Keep shipping doors locked during off-hours.
  • Use video surveillance cameras to monitor premises and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Maintain any CCTV data off-site.
  • Ensure loaded trailers always back up to a shipping door, building, or other trailers.
  • Use pin locks, glad hand locks, door padlocks, or other devices.
  • Keep trucks locked when parked in the yard and keep truck keys inside the building.

Employee security

Who you hire can be integral to the success of your business. That’s why it’s so important to have security measures in place when hiring new employees or when welcoming other personnel onto your business’ property.

  • Perform extensive background checks during the hiring process.
  • Ensure all security-related policies and procedures are current and reviewed annually with staff.
  • Ensure a third-party performs periodic tests of the security systems.
  • Train dispatchers/managers to monitor drivers for discontent or changes in behaviour.
  • Require employees to always wear company IDs.
  • Recover employee IDs, facility access cards, or keys if employment ceases.
  • Implement procedures to identify and address unauthorized/unidentified persons

Help protect your business with the right coverage

While these tips may appear straight-forward, when used in combination, they can significantly boost your cargo security. Cargo insurance can also serve as a safety net for your business. Cargo insurance can help when you incur financial losses due to theft or damage to your cargo. By securing your cargo and having the right insurance coverage in place, you can protect your business’ reputation and help reduce the financial impact of theft. Learn more by visiting our transportation & logistics services insurance 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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