As globalization continues to increase the amount of freight shipped across international boundaries, so too does it increase the risk of losses through cargo theft. Already this year, a spate of cargo vessel hijackings in the Asia Pacific region has resulted in millions of litres of fuel oil and, to a lesser extent, chemicals, being lost to the black market. Meanwhile, cargo thefts from trucks continue to rise in number as greater quantities of high-value products are hauled along the world’s highways.
Without trying to sound flippant, a guide to foiling ship hijackings is not really within the scope of a short blog post, even if I was an authority on the matter, which I’m not. However, since realistically your cargo is more likely to disappear while it’s in transit on the highway or sitting in a warehouse, a few hints for preventing land-based perpetrators might help you to keep your business protected. To that end, here are three cargo theft prevention measures you can take to improve load security.
#1: Make Use of Technology
If your company runs a fleet of trucks, technology investments for prevention of cargo theft should be high on the list of security priorities. With remote immobilizing technology for example, you can render a vehicle stationary if it’s stolen or suspected of being so. If thieves have decided to steal the truck along with its cargo, which they commonly do, they’re unlikely to continue the attempt if they lose their only planned means of getting the goods into their black market warehouse.
#2: Park Trucks Tail-to-Tail
This is a simple precaution your drivers can take when their away from base with a load and need to stop for their rest breaks. Train your drivers to stop at locations where there are plenty of other trucks pulled up. Ask them to get into the habit of parking tail-to-tail. This protects the rear trailer doors from being broken into—something which can otherwise easily happen even while a driver sleeps in his cab. If you have a lot of trucks parked in your storage facility with goods onboard, the tail-to-tail parking method can also help to keep vehicles secure in your yard.
#3: Don’t Forget Lo-tech Security Too
Even the use of plenty of locks and seals on your fleet’s cargo trailers can make the difference between a load making it safely to its destination or not. While simple measures like these may not stop the most determined and organized criminals, it will at least keep your loads safe from opportunist thieves.
Your drivers can make use of devices to lock trailer air hoses, kingpin locks to stop anyone from separating tractor and trailer units and even air brake locks that stop thieves from being able to drive vehicles away.
Finally, it’s important to remember that in a number of European countries, gangs of cargo thieves are not afraid to use violence to seize control of a truck and/or its cargo. If you operate a logistics operation in that part of the world, make sure your drivers know that however valuable their cargo, not a single human life is worth risking in cargo theft prevention. Better to claim on a freight insurance policy, than to lose a driver through ill-advised heroics.
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