Cargo theft can spell financial disaster for your business and damage your relationships with customers, who might lose trust in your security practices.
Even if your cargo-insurance policy covers the full value of the most expensive goods you haul, exemptions could leave you vulnerable. Policies could exclude coverage if the truck was unattended, if the loss resulted from theft, if the incident happened in a high-theft-rate area or if the heist involved commonly stolen merchandise.
Of course, the best way to avoid a battle with your insurance company – and negative publicity – is to prevent cargo theft in the first place. Here are some tips to help you do that and to improve recovery chances should a theft occur.
- Make sure your security protocols are up to date and in line with industry best practices.
- Invest in tractor-locking devices such as, brake and transmission locks, and other vehicle immobilizers.
- To protect trailers, consider ISO 17712-compliant barrier seals, hardened padlocks, glad hand locks that prohibit release of trailer brakes and kingpin locks that prevent unauthorized hook ups.
- Look for high-tech solutions that might fit your budget. Options include GPS tracking, geo-fencing, devices that send alerts when trailer doors are opened or cargo is unloaded and vehicle-immobilization technology.
- Follow all security procedures at shippers’ facilities.
- Don’t be offended or irritated if shippers heavily scrutinize your paperwork or ask you to prove your identity. With the rise in carrier identity theft and fictitious pickups, shippers need to play a part in preventing cargo theft.
- To reduce chances of a breakdown, inspect your truck and the trailer or container before leaving the shipper’s facility.
- Arrive for pickups with a full fuel tank and don’t stop in the first 250 miles. Thieves could have seen what cargo was loaded and might stalk your truck, hoping you’ll leave it unattended.
- Notice whether you’re being followed, especially by vehicles with multiple occupants and out-of-state plates.
- Don’t talk about what you’re hauling or where you’re going and don’t post this information online. People working with theft rings could be listening at truck stops and searching the web for tipoffs.
- When you stop, park in a well-lit, heavily traveled area with security cameras. Check the load at every stop, and monitor it frequently if you stop for an extended period.
- Never leave a loaded truck on a roadside.
- Don’t store keys inside your tractor or in a location where someone would look for them.
- Try not to stop at unsecured areas when hauling high-value loads. If you have to park at a truck stop, back against a building, post, fence or other objects so thieves would have a difficult time opening the trailers doors. If possible, have someone ride with you and stay with the truck when you have to leave.
- Report thefts to law-enforcement agencies immediately. This greatly increases your chances of recovery. Odds are better than 50-50 when the theft is reported within two hours, but drop to 25 percent after four hours.
Blue Star Security partners with logistics and transportation firms to guard your supply chain against theft of product through on site-security measures at warehouses and distribution centers and one of the most effective over-the-road cargo escort programs in the nation. Contact us for more information on cargo protection, and all of our other security services!