Security Measures That Protect Customer Freight and Cargo
A recent article in Overdrive magazine, provided some good news for the American trucking industry. In 2017, the number of cargo theft incidents dropped by 15%, compared to reported theft in 2016.
In a report and survey conducted by SensiGuard, there were a total of 649 reported cargo thefts in the United States in 2017, with an average loss of $146,063 per case. Another report by CargoNet, indicated a slightly higher number, with 741 cargo thefts in 2017. In both research studies, theft rates and cargo loss was higher in the third and fourth quarters of the year, when consumer goods shipping is highest, during the holiday season. That is why it is important for cartage companies to have these security measures that protect your cargo.
What Kind of Freight Is Higher Risk for Theft?
While the SensiGuard report indicated some good news, what is evident by evaluating the loss data, is that criminals are getting more organized, and strategic about the types of cargo that they target for theft. The report states that there is an increased preference for goods that are easier to steal from the truck, and goods that are quick to sell on the black market (whether consumer products or industrial supplies).
In 2017, home and garden items were at the top of the list for theft, from commercial transporters. That included interior furnishings, patio and outdoor furniture, grills, high-end bedding and linens, electronics, cleaning supplies, and food and beverages. Alcohol and pharmaceuticals (including bulk compounding materials) are increasingly targeted by organized crime groups, with sophisticated strategies for freight theft, even in secured locations.
In 2017, 78% of all reported freight thefts occurred in-transit, and 15% of the loss was due to pilferage, or break and enter of the secured cargo, and removal of some (not all) of the merchandise. Unsecured parking locations have represented the biggest risk for cargo theft, including public parking, drop lots and truck driver rest stops.
Criminals Have Gone High-Tech
The state with the most frequent freight thefts is California, according to 2016 data provided by the Transport Asset Protection Association (TAPA). That year, California cartage companies reported a 33% rate of theft, and Texas holds the number two position in the country, with 16% of total freight thefts in the Nation. Florida is third, and the state of Georgia is in fourth position, compared to national statistics for cargo theft.
Many truck shipments have hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable merchandise or industrial supplies, and increasingly the methods that are used by criminals to access information about shipments have become even more advanced.
In recent years, criminals have used signal-interference devices (jammers) to obstruct onboard telematics or tracking devices and communication technology on cargo trucks. There have even been cases where 3-D printed cargo seals were replaced, to hide evidence of a theft until delivery.
How the Cartage Industry Is Reducing Freight Theft and Improving Driver Safety
At Canal Cartage, we believe that technology and hiring knowledgeable truck drivers, is essential to the prevention of freight theft, and to the safety of our drivers. Typical procedures and equipment including king pin locks, padlocking and gland hand locks are only part of the training that goes into theft prevention, ensuring we are doing everything we can as a service provider, to reduce and eliminate loss for our clients.
Drivers receive training during licensure, that helps them to understand the criminal mindset. In our experience, committed drivers have a vested interest in preserving their safe driving and reputation for integrity delivery, and they stay informed about fraud, trending methods of heist and other methods that criminals use to access cargo.
Some of the extra precautions that our drivers take to reduce the risk of theft include:
- Avoiding ‘check in’ with geographic location settings, for personal social media commenting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- They use industrial seals to deter and alert, regarding cargo tampering.
- Drivers avoid discussing the details of their cargo, selected route or destination over the radio, or in high-risk areas like public rest stops, or at refueling locations.
- Police and law enforcement are contacted immediately, if a driver suspects that he or she is being followed or targeted for theft in transit.
- Both tractors and trailers use advanced locking mechanisms,
- Drivers maintain an electronic tracking and log of the route over secure servers, only with the cartage company.
The trucking industry as a whole, thoroughly evaluates each driver, and theft/loss history, and ensures that they have undergone theft prevention and security training. Drivers are also required to provide a clean criminal record abstract. This is both to control insurance costs, and to ensure the safe delivery of customer freight and merchandise.
At Canal Cartage, our commercial clients also have the peace of mind and ability to independently track the shipment of their freight and goods, through our online Customer Portal. We’ve built a reputation on safety and theft prevention that we’re proud of, for our commercial clients.