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How To Steer Clear Of Cargo Thefts?

Key Takeaways

  • Cargo Theft Trends
  • Theft Tactics
  • Straight Thefts
  • Strategic Thefts
  • Tech-Induced Thefts
  • Cyberattacks
  • Pilferages
  • Combative measures
  • Role of Matrack

Cargo theft is one of the more pressing challenges that truckers need to face while freight transportation. However, despite the magnitude of the threat, not many fleet managers can deploy strategic measures to address these random and unplanned events due to the lack of technology, manpower, and proactive thinking.

Much like accidents and spillage, cargo thefts can also impact the company profits while putting the trucker credibility under scrutiny. Most importantly, as compared to other means of commercial transportation, stealing road-bound cargo is more of a trend rather than a one-off incident.

If reports are to be believed, instances of Cargo Thefts escalated up to 49 percent during the Q1 2020. However, despite the rise, the average loss value reduced significantly by 9 percent during the same time which is indicative of the fact that burglars aren’t keeping their attention restricted to the more valued items and focusing on almost every form of freight that is being transported.

Recent Cargo Theft Trends to take Notice of

Before we delve deeper into how to combat the sudden proliferation of cargo thefts, it is necessary to be aware of the existing scenario and the holdup patterns. As per reports, the first three months of 2020 saw almost 217 instances of road-bound cargo trucks being mugged. Moreover, the spread was quite uniform which signifies arbitrary patterns and doesn’t offer fixed timelines to ascertain safeguarding measures.

As far as the veracity of stolen essentials is concerned, miscellaneous items feature atop the list comprising 29 percent of the reported incidents. Besides that 15 percent of steals was synonymous with the food and beverage sector, closely followed by home essentials at 11 percent and consumer electronics at 10 percent.

When it comes to geographical segregations, California can be regarded as the most theft-prone zone with figures amounting to 19 percent of the total thefts. Next in line is Texas at 12 percent followed by a few other states in Illinois and Georgia. Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is that trucks loaded up to the brim are more prone to pilferage and thefts, accounting for almost 62 percent of cumulative incidents in 2020.

Cargo Theft Tactics

Fleet managers and truckers looking to take evasive action for keeping thefts to a minimum must first understand the mindset of the burglars and the techniques utilized by them for sabotaging the products, in general.

  • Straight Thefts

This is where burglars identify unattended loaded trucks at parking lots and lift cargo by barging in with minimal efforts. Experienced respondents target commercial vehicles with inadequate security standards. Straight thefts mostly qualify as standard break-ins and burgling the freight.

  • Strategic Thefts

Tricking shippers, carriers, and even warehouses into making judgmental errors is what strategic theft is all about. Some of the more common techniques include identity thefts, brokering scams, misleading pickups, and unscrupulous usage of shipping information.

  • Tech-Powered Thefts

Seasoned thieves often rely on advanced technology to initiate holdups. The most common technique involves identifying the covert GPS whereabouts of the truck by hacking into the featured system. Experienced technicians are put to work who jam signals and restrict GPS operability. With the fleet management getting minimal to no access, straight thefts become easier to proceed with. Not just that, with restricted GPS support, it becomes virtually impossible for the authorities to track down the stolen goods or the entire vehicle.

  • Cyberattacks

Although a majority of us relate cyber-attacks to online fraudulency, they can also aid road-bound cargo thefts by offering burglars access to the company system and therefore, sensitive information. Once the details are out in the open, including the trucker and load details, it becomes easier to locate the truck and proceed, accordingly. This is why it is necessary to protect the online identity besides securing the offline perimeter.

  • Pilferage

Picking up smaller items to avoid direct glares is what pilferage is all about. In most cases, continued instances of pilferage ensure that the truckers find it extremely hard to identify the exact time and location of the theft. Better termed as petty thefts, pilferages can easily impact the credibility of the concerned service provider.

The Best Combative Measures in Play

Now that we are aware of the theft trends and techniques, it becomes easier to enlist the best possible combative measures for keeping the mounting threats to a minimum. Then again, we must first understand that cargo is most vulnerable in the resting state. It is, therefore, necessary for the fleet manager and trucker to be wary about this massive safety-centric bottleneck and take precautions accordingly.

Here are 5 of the best theft preventive strategies to consider, precisely for full-proofing the fulfillment and other supply chain solutions:

  • Keep the Load Moving

Probably the most basic and clichéd advise an active freight is often less prone to thefts and pilferages. The best way to address this issue is by accommodating two truckers with them sharing the workload, as per requirements. Having more than one individual also ensures that even during halts, there is at least one individual taking care of the freight. To simplify things further, refrain from keeping the truck unattended, even if you need to make a pit stop.

  • Pre-Plan the Route

As a trucker, you might be tempted to take the shorter route to unload the freight quickly and move on to the next consignment. However, from a security perspective, changing the predefined route isn’t advisable as thieves might always be on the prowl and would expect you to make such a move. There are times when burglars do some in-depth research into the truckers, to analyze their driving tendencies and the route selections. This is why it is pertinent that you stick to the original plan of action.

  • Closely Guard you Drop-Off Details

As a rule of thumb, you should not reveal the drop-off details to any individual, irrespective of his or her prominence, persuasion, or directions. As a trucker or even a fleet manager, you must realize that thieves are always looking to compromise your safety standards by being extremely persuasive, either over social media or in person. When it comes to safeguarding the details, you must also count in the family members and friends as they might unwittingly reveal the details to unscrupulous individuals.

  • Be Wary of the Hot Spots

Here is one preventive measure of the concern analyzing the drop-off region and the existing supply chain. For instance, you need to be more proactive if the truck is expected to travel across California, one of the cargo theft hotspots in recent years. Moreover, it is also advisable for the trucker to know everything about the supply chain and take precautions accordingly by reviewing the existing security standards for the particular type of load. Fleet managers also have the responsibility of training the truckers who are assigned deliveries in and around the hotspots.

  • GPS Tracking

GPS monitoring plays an important role when implementing preventive and precautionary measures are concerned. Fleet managers must ensure that devices with GPS tracking support are installed in every single truck. Besides that, the GPS coverage must include the driver dashboard for better health and presence monitoring followed by tracking the insides of the vehicle. Companies looking to inculcate top-notch security standards must concentrate on getting hold of aligned GPS-centric services, including trailer tracking, cargo safeguarding, asset tracking, and customizable feed generation.

While these are some of the more resourceful techniques to keep cargo thefts to a minimum, companies must also focus on certain less invasive techniques like maintaining precise employer protocols for each trip and screening every trucker, by conducting a detailed background check. If and when truckers enlist with companies, they must follow the HOS and resting guidelines to the T, to ensure holistic safety standards.

Not just that, ELD devices used as locks can also minimize the instances of straight thefts as the load is secured in a locked trailer that opens only when specific devices like keypads, fobs, and access cards are used. However, it is almost impossible for a burglar to break open as the ELD security standards are encrypted using an authenticated key.

The Role of Matrack

While each one of the mentioned strategies like pre-planning the travel route or implementing employer protocols requires administrative inputs, Matrack can help you with the technical aspects of protection by bringing forth advanced GPS tracking systems. Each one of Matrack’s offering is completely ELD compatible and aimed at faster installations, detailed fleet tracking, and improved asset utilization. Nevertheless, the GPS tracking module clubbed with upgraded software, is completely weatherproof, thereby further adding to the efficiency and throughput of the security implementations.

Cargo Thefts are hard to deal with as they can eat into the revenue and credibility of the concerned trucking firm. However, every trucker or fleet manager must read through all the details mentioned above and gain perspective regarding the trends, types, and prevention strategies associated with freight burglaries, holdups, and other security threats.

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