How to Mitigate Cargo Theft
Cargo theft in the United States continues to create challenges for our nation’s supply chain. No one is immune to the impact of cargo theft. Although insurance companies carry a majority of the risk, we all stand to lose when cargo is removed from legitimate supply chains.
Shippers are concerned with their reputation and brand being tarnished; as well as empty shelves and loss of consumer scenarios. The motor carriers and brokers feel the pain of theft when their deductibles need to be met and their insurance companies raise their premiums, it’s even worse when they are self-insured, as the loss falls right to their bottom line.
Most importantly for shippers is the potential loss of confidence from customers and the risk of losing business. The owner operator’s safety is in jeopardy and when their tractors are stolen, that power unit stops generating revenue. Finally, the consumers are impacted as manufacturers are beginning to build in theft loss into its cost and passing it down.
So how can you mitigate cargo theft? In one word “preparedness”. It’s imperative to have documented prevention protocols in place. From CargoNet’s perspective, it is all about education and awareness. Here are some best practices to protect your freight and assets from being stolen:
- Notify your dispatcher via text, email, or phone if you plan on stopping.
- Pre-plan your stops prior to departure from the shipper.
- Get it all done in advance: fuel, shower, eat, and rest prior to loading.
- Even if you did a thorough pre-trip inspection earlier in the day, always do a walk-around when you stop. Give your truck and trailer a visual inspection of tires, brakes, air line, etc. Also—always check all trailer doors when you stop and prior to departing.
- Always drive a minimum of 250 miles after accepting a load before stopping.
- If you observe a suspicious vehicle following you for an extended period, call 911. If the patrol officer is unable to locate you, drive to a safe, well-lit location. While waiting for the officer, record the license plate number as well as vehicle and occupant descriptions to provide to the responding officer.
- Never discuss your destination, type of cargo, or any personal information on the CB radio or at a truck stop, whether you are loaded or just left the consignee. Thieves may be gathering intelligence for your next trip.
- If you must stop, use reputable truck stops or a secured parking area.
- When you park at a truck stop, be aware of anyone who seems to be loitering—that person could be a criminal waiting for you to leave your vehicle unattended.
- If you must eat and/or shower with a loaded trailer, ensure that the rear doors are parked against a fixed object—fence, light pole, etc.—to eliminate the opportunity for theft.
For more information, please see the full list of the Top 20 Best Practices for Prevention.
Cargo security is everyone’s responsibility. Keep your guard up at all times and do not be lured into a false sense of security. Your first theft could be your last!