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Road Scholar Transport E-Newsletter
Tips for Combating Cargo Theft This Holiday Season
With the upcoming holiday season approaching, we are reminding everyone to stay on alert for increasing cargo theft risks. According to FreightWatch International, the number of freight stolen over a holiday weekend is nearly 40% higher than other weekends throughout the year, as cargo sits for an extended period of time, and as we know, cargo at rest is cargo at risk.
As FWI states, carriers should confirm shipping hours to avoid delays and covert tracking devices should be utilized. Sam Tucker, CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, offers some additional tips on keeping your freight safe:
Avoid having the truck stop within 250 to 300 miles of beginning the trip. Many times, cargo thieves will target a particular truck. They will follow the truck and wait for the driver to stop for an extended period (food, shower, bathroom, etc.). The brief separation between the driver and the truck offers the criminals the perfect opportunity to sweep in and take the load.
To help achieve number 1, ensure that you or your driver is well rested, has enough hours of service remaining and has taken care of their basic human needs prior to beginning their trip.
Drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times, and this is especially true when discussing cargo theft prevention. They must pay close attention to see if anyone may be following them. When choosing where to park during extended trips, opt for areas where other trucks are, that are well lit and that provide some natural opportunities for prevention like backing up close to an embankment or building, etc. Doing this will provide some natural barriers of entry for the trailer while the activity will promote any suspicious activity being noted and/or reported more quickly.
Most cargo theft can be prevented for less than $100 per truck. This is accomplished by using a heavy duty padlock on the rear door(s) of the trailer and an "Air Cuff" lock in the tractor. The padlock discourages would be thieves from popping and shopping in the back of the truck while the air-cuff lock prevents the physical movement of the tractor by preventing the tractor and trailer brakes from being released. The leading air cuff lock can be purchased for around $75. Use the remaining $25 to purchase a hardened steel padlock with a protected shackle. Many times cargo theft comes down to an ease of doing business for the criminals. If your truck appears to be well protected, they may pass up the chance to make you a statistic.
Avoid dropping trailers or waiting for delivery in one of the "Hot Zone" areas mentioned above. This is especially true around holidays and weekends as activity around the area will likely be at a minimum.
Consider hiring extra security guards, especially around weekends and holiday periods. Make sure that those guards are well screened and that your contract with the security company doesn't limit their liability in case of a cargo theft on their watch.
Be very clear about your expectations for the security guards. Prohibit them from allowing their friends/family to visit them at work and ensure that they make regular but random checks throughout your lot despite the weather or temperature. Consider using some monitoring programs to verify that checks are being made.
Make sure that all areas of your lot are well lit and can be seen by passing law enforcement officers. Challenge any suspicious person(s) visiting your business or possibly conducting surveillance on your terminal or warehouse location.
Make local law enforcement friends of your business! Invite them in for coffee and donuts (or whatever) once a month. Talk with them about your operation and the kinds of activities that might look suspicious.
Don't skimp on locks and cameras for your terminal and lot. Invest in high quality locks for all exterior windows and doors and spend some extra money on a serious camera system if you are going to purchase one.
Ensure that all locks are actually working and engaged when the terminal location is unoccupied and that your security system is operational and armed. Some very smart thieves will "test" your security system for you by triggering your alarm system a few times prior to making their move in order to understand your response and that of local law enforcement. This is especially true if you have warehousing and/or storage at your terminal location and even more so if you ship/receive high value goods.
12) Engineer your business to have fewer loads around holiday periods and try to avoid having pickups on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with a Monday delivery. If the goods aren't expected to arrive until Monday, potential thieves have a very nice head start on getting further away with the goods. Time is an enemy here.
“Did You Know?"
Traffic congestion will cost the trucking industry nearly $63.4 billion this year according to the American Transportation Research Institute. That’s up from $49.6 billion in 2016!
3 "Keys to Success" for Cargo Security
Upcoming Awareness Events
Come check out our 911 Rolling Memorial Truck on Oct. 7th at Pocono Sign Company in Blakely, PA for their open house!
Time: 2 PM to 5 PM
Date: Saturday, Oct. 7th
Location: Pocono Sign Company - 1979 Scranton-Carbondale HWY, Blakely, PA 18447
There will be face painting, touch-a-truck, race cars, food, a bounce house and more!
All proceeds will benefit The Happy Jack Fund which serves those families who endured the loss of a child, providing their siblings with educational scholarships.
From Walt Beadling, Managing Partner for the Cargo Security Alliance
1. Simplify your supply chain; minimize hand-offs to establish, maintain, and ensure a secure chain of custody from end-to-end.
2. Design, implement, promote and enforce a multi-layered security protocol as necessary and appropriate for the cargo in transit by: (a) enabling and imposing collaboration among supply chain trading partners, carriers and intermediaries, (b) providing for access to, and the sharing of, essential data in real- or near real-time, and (c) using well-established cargo security best practices with consistent, repeatable, verifiable business processes.
3. Prepare to execute - and practice - swift, data-enabled response to theft when it occurs; prosecute those found guilty to the fullest extent of the law and hold all personnel involved accountable for lapses in the established processes and procedures.