For Shippers: How to Prevent Cargo Theft

Apr 25, 2024Blog, Imports and Exports, International Logistics

Recent reports revealing 2023 data show a significant rise in domestic and international cargo thefts in previous years. TTClub and BSI SCREEN Intelligence collaborated on their recently published Annual Cargo Theft Report 2023, which shows an exceptionally high spike in thefts of food and beverages. Similarly, The United States & Canada Annual Cargo Theft Report 2023 by Overhaul indicates that the US alone experienced 1,183 cargo thefts in 2023 totaling nearly $700 Million, with the average loss value rising 67% compared to the year prior.

It’s a cautionary tale for all manufacturers and their suppliers that need to ship goods throughout the global supply chain. At TOC, we manage more than 1,000 suppliers worldwide and know a little something about keeping cargo safe. While carrying the right type of cargo insurance and utilizing risk management strategies is essential, we want to highlight our tips on preventing cargo theft.

Screen and Train Employees

Employees are the heart of every company, but some cargo experts maintain that many thefts involve information received from inside a company. In such a high-risk, high-dollar industry, more than a recommendation from a friend is needed to secure someone’s employment. Companies should thoroughly screen prospective employees and perform extensive background checks of new hires to help reduce any security risks. It is also important to train employees to prevent cargo theft, implement policies of privacy that keep your delivery locations away from the public, and monitor operations to ensure employees follow your security protocols.

Research Prospective Partners

Trusting everyone involved in the shipment of goods means looking past employees and onto prospective partners. One of the critical strategies for preventing cargo theft is to choose reputable, trustworthy partners, including carriers, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and insurance providers. It is essential to ensure that your partners share your high standards for security and have proper policies and procedures in place. Verify their credentials, check track records, and establish clear roles and responsibilities at each stage of transportation. It’s important to look not only at the company’s overall reputation but also at its employees. How do they screen their employees? What security features do they use? How do they seal and secure their trailers during transit, and are shipments trackable throughout the entire process?

Maintain Security Measures

Security should be part of a company’s culture, language, and way of life. All security procedures should be carefully outlined and communicated as part of employee training, and employees should be regularly tested to ensure their knowledge of these procedures. Remember that cargo at rest is at higher risk, whether stored in a warehouse or sitting idle in a trailer. Take safety precautions to ensure cargo is not left unattended or unsecured. Install security lighting and cameras in your facilities, use locks and alarms on vehicles and facilities, add security seals to all cargo, and conduct regular inventory audits.

Working only with companies and providers who maintain CTPAT certification also helps mitigate risk. CTPAT-compliant companies must adhere to a strict 7/17-point inspection. This process guarantees that all cargo undergoes a 7-point container inspection and the vehicle undergoes a 17-point inspection. Each inspection has a checklist to verify that the cargo and vehicle are properly inspected. The safer the cargo and vehicle are, the harder it is to lose cargo to theft.

Invest in Technology

Various technologies and tools enhance cargo security while also providing a greater level of visibility through each stage of transportation. Consider using Warehouse Management Systems for real-time inventory tracking and inventory audits. GPS devices, RFID tags, and other monitoring devices allow you to track cargo movements, and Geofencing tracker apps can alert you when cargo travels off its delivery route. Immobilizers can disable fuel, hydraulic, or electrical systems when theft is suspected. Many of these tools also allow alerts to be set up when deviations or anomalies occur.

As a leader in international transportation, logistics, maritime, and shipping, TOC International Logistics’ has developed strict processes to ensure cargo gets to its destination on time and safely. For information on our processes, contact a TOC representative today.



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