Ten top tips to prevent cargo crime

Written by Andy Ellis, Business Development Manager

History books and popular fiction tell glamorous tales of bandits robbing stagecoaches and merchants being attacked on the road, while pirates have made their presence felt on the sea. And as children we’ve all played our own versions of Jack Sparrow or Robin Hood – it’s all harmless fun, right? Now put yourself in the shoes of the truck driver who has just been held at gunpoint for his cargo of sportswear. Still fun? 

In truth it’s not just the truck drivers themselves that suffer as a result of cargo crime. TAPA (the Transported Asset Protection Association) report that “the repercussions of cargo theft can be devastating. Loss of sales... liability, product contamination and recall, as well as brand equity damage may result from a single incident of cargo tampering or loss”. These repercussions apply to both the manufacturer and the logistics firms tasked with transporting goods across the country and ultimately, it affects the prices we all pay on the high street. 

It’s not just on the road that the transportation sector feels the pinch. Vulnerabilities exist across the sector including shipping and warehousing where targets include ports, borders and transportation hubs. So what steps can you take to mitigate the risk of losses? 

Loss prevention tactics 
  1. Check that lighting, backup generators, alarm systems, surveillance equipment and perimeter fencing are all in good working order. 
  2. Operate strict key control of all equipment including trucks, motorised pallet jacks and forklifts. 
  3. Ensure that every single alarm activation is responded to (see our previous blog for more about this) as criminals will often activate alarms multiple times to imitate malfunctioning systems. 
  4. Document all suspicious activity, no matter how small or insignificant it seems and ensure that it’s reported to management and whoever has responsibility for loss prevention in your business. 
  5. Request extra security patrols during times when facilities may be unoccupied, such as weekends and bank holidays. 
  6. Keep an accurate log of registration plate details along with VINs and descriptions of all vehicles including tractors, trailers, containers and container chassis. Make this available to management, security and drivers so that the information can be readily shared in the event of a robbery. 
  7. Secure all vehicles with high-quality locking devices and steering column locks.  
  8. For soft-sided trailers use slash-resistant tarpaulins, secure tarpaulins with cables and padlocks. 
  9. Install light sensors inside trailers to alert drivers to potential thefts. 
  10. Agree on secure stopping locations en-route, and check cargo when stopping and before setting off again. 
For more tips on maintaining the security of your supply chain, email to request your free security audit. 
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