How Trucking Companies Can Avoid Cargo Theft

Automotive Articles

Cargo theft is a huge problem in the trucking industry. There were 951 cargo theft reports, with 692 of them being either full truckloads or containers. The load value of the stolen cargo averaged $171,000. These stolen goods are often just the tip of the iceberg of a larger criminal operation.

If you own a fleet of trucks from places like Arrow Truck Sales or operate an independent trucking business, it's important to mitigate the risks of cargo theft even though most losses are covered by insurance claims. Each filed claim can cause your insurance premiums to increase, which can severely cut into your bottom line. Also, if word gets out that you've suffered a loss due to cargo theft, freight brokers and clients may turn tail and find another trucking business to entrust their valuables with in the future. Here are a few ways you can protect your cargo from theft.

Use Common Sense

Background checks—To avoid inside theft, conduct thorough background checks on all drivers and employees. Check their driving and criminal records, and check their credit report. Hire an investigator to determine if they are living far above their means as this may signify that they are in a cargo theft ring.

Truck stops—Establish theft-deterrent procedures for your drivers to use when they stop for a break. Eliminate the possibility of anyone being able to open the tailgate by having the drivers back-in park against a gate, fence, building or the tail of another semi trailer. Do not allow them to let the trucks idle while they go into an establishment. Expensive loads should be transported by driver teams. That way, they can take turns guarding the truck and cargo when they need to stop for a break.

Check identification—Each time the cargo is transferred, picked up or dropped off the driver should require the person taking control of the cargo provides them with a form of identification. Keep the radio traffic to a minimum before a transfer occurs. This will help reduce the risks of becoming a target if thieves are listening in looking for a victim.

Use Technology

Load sensors—These devices can pinpoint the exact time and date that a load was tampered with or stolen. Some load sensors allow you the ability to print out a report of changes in the weight of the load. This can be helpful when your drivers regularly pick up and drop off loads at various stops throughout the itinerary.

GPS geofencing and tracking—GPS geofencing technology will alert you when the semi or trailer goes outside of predetermined areas without your approval. At that point, the semi and/or trailer will be tracked by a GPS. You will be able to watch the travels via the Internet or on an app on a handheld mobile electronic device. You can then call the location into the police after you've determined that the cargo has been stolen.

Vehicle immobilization technology—You can safely disable a semi that is rigged with vehicle immobilization technology. This is a device that you can command from a remote location. It will not allow the engine to start back up after the criminal has shut it off. Use this in conjunction with GPS tracking. That way, the police will be able to find it quickly, which may reduce the amount of time the criminals have to unload the cargo or disconnect the trailer from the semi.

According to the FBI, cargo theft is often a gateway to other crimes including money laundering, insurance fraud, drug trafficking and organized crime. To thwart theft of your cargo, it's important to take precautions by using common sense and technology to combat these professional criminals.


8 December 2014