A group of thieves in LA made off with two trailers that carried over $3 million in computer equipment. This story which hit the news in April of this year is just one of many recent theft incidents involving cargo. Some thieves go so far as forging licenses and documentation to make off with valuable shipments. This level of organized, intelligent crime cannot be written off as a phase that will eventually be countered by law enforcement. It needs to be addressed with better procedures and tools from those that the theft hurts the most: shippers and carriers.
Understanding the Risk
How do you know if your shipments are at risk?
The truth is that all shipments are at risk, regardless of cargo. But there are some which maintain a greater risk. The prime target has changed over the years. Most recently, thieves have been targeting low-value food and beverage items, which accounts for approximately 28% of cargo in thefts over the past year. The average value of stolen Sacramento cargo units is gradually dipping in response. For thieves, computer equipment like that in the above-mentioned case may be worth more, but taking it comes at a much higher risk.
Thus, shippers, carriers, and logistics personnel across the board should be analyzing how to safeguard their cargo.
How to Safeguard Your Cargo in 5 Steps
To ensure a safer journey and minimize the risk of loss, follow this 5-step plan for California cargo container security:
1. Apply Technology to Cargo – Sensors fixed to the cargo can alert a driver or shipper when cargo has made an unscheduled stop or moves off-route. Additionally, cargo may be affixed with a GPS chip to relocate it once lost.
2. Use Vehicles with Technology – Trucks and trailers should have automatic locking mechanisms when stopped and sensors that report if doors are opened before the final destination.
3. Prepare a Safe Trip – Shipment vehicles are most at risk in transit when stopped. This means that shipping yards, ports, weigh stations, etc. are hotspots for crime. If possible, check these locations out ahead of time to ensure a safe itinerary.
4. Monitor Drivers and Handoff – One of the easiest ways in which thieves make off with the product is by posing as a driver. Before allowing a shipment to leave, run checks on the documentation a driver brings. Carriers should also have verified credentials and driving history before deployment.
5. Administer a Recovery Plan – If all else fails and theft occurs, be prepared with a flexible recovery plan. Maintain relationships with local law enforcement across your delivery areas for timely responses.
Administering security by following only one of these steps isn’t enough to deter or mitigate risk. You must have a collaboration between shippers, carriers, logistics, local law enforcement, and all involved parties to safeguard your cargo consistently. The best defense is to layer protection on all levels.