The trucking industry is instrumental in maintaining the supply chain of materials and goods all over the world. Thanks to the trucking industry, global economies receive over 10 billion tons of various goods. Other industries rely on trucks to deliver the raw materials to produce those goods. The trucking industry delivers more cargo than ships, planes or trains and cargo theft will disrupt the greater supply chain.
Unfortunately, the world is seeing a rise in the multi-billion dollar industry of cargo theft. Of course, trucking companies insure their fleets and cargo, but what else can be done to deter or prevent cargo theft?
Trucking industry differences
Each region of the world deals with theft based on specific characteristics of culture, economic trends, topography, and governmental regulations. In the United States, companies must adhere to Hours of Service regulations, which must be considered when preparing shipments, so the truck driver does not have to stop in an unsecured area.
In Europe, trucks are usually soft-sided, covered by curtains or tarps, and loaded/unloaded from the side unlike the hard-sided trailers of U.S. which are loaded/unloaded from the rear.
Although these differences exist, there are ways for truck drivers to avoid being easy targets.
Five tips to protect your cargo
Here are five ways truck drivers can protect their cargo.
- Park in secure areas. The area should be well-lit and monitored by security cameras and/or guards. At truck stops, park in a well-lit area and back the truck with trailer doors against a wall or somewhere to prevent opening the doors.
- Don’t discuss trailer contents, route, or destination with strangers, over the radio or on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Remain alert always especially in heavily targeted truck stops and/or border crossings.
- Use layered security measures. Frustrate thieves by protecting your cargo with alarms, cameras, padlocks, GPS trackers and trailer wheel locks.
- Maintain communication with dispatch/home office and law enforcement. In situations when a truck is being followed, constant communication is vital in theft prevention and driver safety.
In addition to these five tips, drivers should never leave their vehicles unattended or with the key in the ignition.
What can truck companies do to prevent cargo theft
Unattended loads are easy targets so companies that educate their staff (office workers to managers to mechanics to drivers) will minimize the threat of theft. Staff that is aware of how to schedule shipments, maintain vehicles, and keep communication open will help prevent theft, move freight safely, and keep drivers safe. Additionally, bulking up security during peak theft times during weekends and holidays, awareness of targeted routes and truck stops, and implementing safety/security policies will aid drivers in performing their duties efficiently and safely.
Move cargo safely and securely in all seasons
Changing seasons also bring different challenges for truck drivers. Moving refrigerated or hazmat shipments during hot summer days can be as challenging as high value shipments during the holiday season. Truck drivers must be aware of all elements while out on the road. They must be alert to their surroundings to detect possible threats of theft, collision with other drivers, road debris, vehicle malfunctions and weather related changes to road conditions.
The trucking industry is the vital link to the global economy so implementing any or all of these high-tech and low-tech security measures can help avoid cargo theft.
Check out our tips for protecting your vehicle and its cargo when the winter weather returns: