The summer is here and so are the season challenges. We at Onspot are very concerned about our colleagues and customers in the transportation industry. During the winter months we want you to have good traction and during the summer months we want you to be safe as well. This is especially true when it comes to making sure that you and your cargo are protected in the best way. That´s why I want to share some useful tips with you out on the roads this summer.
Many parts of the world have seen a dramatic rise in the thefts of trucks and cargos. Typically in many countries there seems to be an increase in this type of activity during the summer months. For example, sometimes trucks are broken up while the drivers are at sleep in the cab. Often times various methods are used to keep drivers unaware of what is happening while this is taking place. In many countries you are not allowed to stay by the road overnight anymore. But in other countries, like Sweden, you don´t have such regulations. And in those countries the cases with thefts and “road pirates” are a recurrent problem.
Do you have a security plan?
If you don´t have a security policy and a security plan for your firm, it is a good idea to produce one. Everyone in the company should be familiar with the procedures to be followed, such as procedures for loading and unloading. What to think about when parking overnight. How should any exceptions be reported, and to whom, and what should the driver do in the event of attempted break-in, robbery or hi-jacking? Many freight transport firm use GPS which can track the driver, and if there should be anything unusual along the route, the information can be distributed to other drivers. The driver’s safety is an important investment for the WHOLE firm.
The American consumer magazine Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) is aimed at freight transport contractors and has listed five good ways of protecting the cargo better throughout the journey.
Five good ways to protect your cargo:
- A good parking place can be crucial. Try to park close to fences or buildings or between other trucks, preferably where it is well lit, close to gas stations or restaurants – anything that can make it hard for the thief to get into the truck.
- Don’t tell outsiders exactly where you are. And don’t talk about your cargo to anyone but than the people concerned with the transport.
- In the USA, more and more commercial drivers report being followed on the roads, so be more aware of your surroundings.
- If you suspect you are being followed, slow down and see whether the vehicle passes you; if it also slows down and follows you when you take the next exit, contact the firm and park in a safe place. Note down the registration number.
- Use a good padlock. That may seem obvious but it is something many people forget. A padlock has often been shown to have a deterrent effect.
Source: The American consumer magazine Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ)
To this list I would like to add, never walk away from your truck while it is running or with the key in the ignition!
According to the CCJ, more and more haulage contractors and drivers need to make more conscious efforts to improve security on the road.
Join an industry organization for support and education
There are many good sites and organizations on the Internet with news and statistics on thefts and security for freight transport firms and commercial drivers. There are many ways of tracking a truck that has disappeared.
- The US industry journal HDT Truckinginfo is aimed particularly at anyone running a freight transport firm in the USA.
- In Sweden, there is a partnership between the insurance companies, the freight transportation industry and the police called LAGOS (trucks, freight and trailers), which acts as a chain of evidence to ensure that vehicles and goods can be found more quickly. For anyone who has been the victim of robbery and theft, this is often a traumatic event. The industry organization Sveriges Åkeriföretag (the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies) has been working with a number partners for several years to establish a support network to assist drivers and other staff. You can read more about LAGOS here: www.kollegahjalpen.se
- The Association for European Transport, is the leading European organization for transport professionals. They also promote networking and the exchange of ideas.
There are more examples of associations of road transport companies around the world. Many of them offer courses to their members to meet the challenges that freight transportation firms face. Find the one that is operating in your country or region by searching on the Internet.
Please, share your best tips of what to think of out on the road this summer!