Incidents of reported cargo theft continue to rise year over year. Between 2022 and 2023, cargo theft increased 15 per cent, with the average value of cargo stolen per theft sitting at just over $200,000. This is why it’s extremely important for you to know the risks you face, and to take steps to discourage thieves.

Implementing an effective theft prevention program can help you to not only protect your cargo, but also protect your business as a whole. Having effective security systems in place can help deter criminals and protect your property (or your customers) from theft.

Here are some recommended theft countermeasures to use for your cargo security:

1.    Security beyond your business’ walls

While your first priority may be to ensure that your physical business property is secure, your efforts shouldn’t end there. It’s also important to secure any of your digital assets, such as private customer information or password/login information. Along with that, confirming the identity and legitimacy of any carriers can also protect you from thieves posing as legitimate drivers or employees.

Follow these tips in order to stay protected if you come in contact with a potential thief:

  • Conduct thorough checks on first-time vendors and business partners. Request service providers to participate in C-TPATTAPA, or PIP programs. Develop callback procedures to verify legitimate carriers.
  • Store your company information securely. Thieves can use stolen identification to assume the identity of a legitimate carrier, which allows them to pick up a load deceptively.
  • Encourage employees to report threats or bribes.

2.    Your yard parameter and business security

Protecting your property, and the cargo that lives on it, should be one of your top priorities. If a theft were to occur, you may find yourself facing delayed shipments, financial losses, and difficulty in securing future insurance coverage. Physical barriers and security on your premises can act as effective deterrents against potential criminals:

  • Ensure that there is protective lighting inside and outside the facility. This should include entrances and exits, cargo handling and storage areas, fence lines, and parking areas.
  • Make sure that perimeter fencing encloses the areas around cargo handling and storage facilities.
  • Remove trees or objects that could potentially allow access over fences.
  • Complete daily yard checks and weekly perimeter checks for breaches and make repairs where needed.
  • Include an alarm system around the perimeter fencing that activates when breached.
  • Prohibit private passenger vehicles from parking in or adjacent to cargo handling and storage areas.
  • Employ a 24/7 security service that includes guard patrols where cargo is of high value or at a high risk of theft.
  • Keep shipping doors locked during off-hours.
  • Use video surveillance cameras to monitor premises, prevent unauthorized access, and maintain any CCTV data off-site.
  • Ensure loaded trailers always back up to a shipping door, building, or other trailers.
  • Use pin locks, glad hand locks, door padlocks, or other devices.
  • Keep trucks locked when parked in the yard and keep truck keys inside the building.

3.    Personnel security

Your staff are integral part of your business. Who you choose to be a part of your team drastically effects the success of you company. That’s why it’s so important to have security measures in place when hiring new employees or when welcoming other personnel onto your business’ property:

  • Before hiring new staff, make sure you perform extensive background checks
  • Ensure that all security-related policies and procedures are current and reviewed annually with staff.
  • Enlist a third-party to perform periodic tests of your security systems.
  • Train dispatchers and managers to monitor drivers for discontent or changes in behaviour.
  • Require your employees to always wear company IDs.
  • Recover employee IDs, facility access cards, or keys if employment ceases.
  • Implement procedures to deal with unauthorized and unidentified persons.

Protect yourself and your business with the right insurance

While these tips may appear straight-forward, when used in combination, they can significantly boost your cargo security. Cargo insurance can also serve as a safety net for your business. Cargo insurance can help when you incur financial losses due to theft or damage to your cargo. Learn more by visiting our Commercial Auto insurance page today.