Though not as popularized as the lore of Santa’s international overnight deliveries, real-life freight deliveries are just as important in driving the holiday season. Truck drivers work diligently to deliver toys and goodies on time for Christmas; but even the season of good cheer isn’t immune to the wickedness of would-be thieves.
The month of December is an especially busy one for anyone involved in shipping and transportation services. It’s also one of the busiest months of the year for those looking to snag a five-finger discount. This is not because security measures are lackadaisical, but rather because companies are producing and transporting more products to meet greater consumer demands.
FreightWatch reported a total of 193 cargo thefts in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2016. The average loss value per incident was $120, 536. Compared to the third quarter of 2015, that’s about a seven percent increase in the number of thefts. Though data will not be available for the fourth quarter for a few weeks yet, it is fair to infer the upward trend in thefts will continue through the holidays. To ensure your cargo remains secure, take note of the following tips courtesy of Freightos.
1) Screen employees thoroughly
Many cargo thefts are conducted as “inside jobs.” To decrease the risk of robbers in your ranks, conduct thorough background checks of drivers, warehouse employees and anyone else who may have access to information regarding shipments and logistics.
Even if a background and MVR check does not bring any criminal record to the surface, it can give you an indication of the prospective employee’s character and overall level of dedication. Be wary of drivers whose record shows repeated incidences of lapse of judgement or overall lack of commitment to their work. These individuals may be more likely to be lax in security protocol.
2) Provide security training and insist security measures are followed
Provide your drivers and freight handlers with adequate security training. Rules like parking in well-lit areas and locking the truck and trailer every time the driver is away are just a couple of security measures that can bolster freight security. Also, ask drivers not to divulge any information about what they are hauling or where they are going when talking on the CB or posting on social media.
3) Invest in GPS Asset Tracking
In the event your trailer is stolen GPS tracking is invaluable in the recovery effort. Asset tracking places a tracking device on trailers, freight or mobile assets and provides you with real-time location info. Even if a savvy thief disables the tracker, you will still be able to give law enforcement the last-known coordinates.
4) Use Radio Frequency Identification
Radio frequency identification (RFID), like GPS asset tracking, helps companies keep tabs on the location of their assets. RFID uses radio waves to track assets through the assembly and distribution process, which can protect assets from being stolen or lost in the warehouse or while on the way to the trucks for delivery.
5) Park Safely
Aside from parking in well-lit areas, it’s also important to park in secured lots with security monitoring systems if your load must be left unattended for any length of time. Though some delays are inevitable, try to plan trips so drivers can avoid waits (such as leaving a load in a lot over the weekend for a Monday morning pick-up). Most thieves aren’t aware of the contents of the cargo before breaking in; they’re just looking to steal something fast and get out. Unless they are specifically targeting the items in your possession, they will most likely be deterred by security cameras and other obvious security measures that will make their job riskier.