Keeping Your Cargo Secure from Theft


No shipper ever wants the stressful experience of having a once-full container arrive at its destination, only to discover that the contents have been stolen. There are several ways, however, that shippers can be proactive in helping prevent themselves from becoming victims of cargo theft. Most are easy to implement and not expensive compared with the cost of losing a full load of valuable merchandise or equipment.

No container should be on the roadways without having some form of electronic data trail attached that not only makes it more difficult to have the container contents stolen but also helps the police track and recover items that may fall into the wrong hands. GPS tracking can determine where a vehicle is located at any given time. Geofencing is a very effective method of preventing a vehicle from going beyond its normal route by sounding a security alarm signaling a theft may be in progress. Real-time delivery data is made possible by telematics and bar codes on individual items can be scanned upon delivery with devices that show proof of delivery at the proper location. There are also locking systems available that prevent cargo doors from being opened anywhere outside of the final destination on the route.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep your cargo secure from theft is the use of any number of low-tech locking devices. These include king pin locks which prevent the trailer from being hooked onto another tractor, air brake valve locks operated from the cab’s interior, and glad hand locks that securely lock the trailer’s airline. The placement of seals on cargo boxes is another very effective theft deterrent. Security seals can only be removed using specific tools. Indicative seals offer an immediate signal that cargo boxes have been broken into or tampered with by an unauthorized party. Cargo can be wrapped with metal high-security seals that require heavy-duty bolt cutters for removal. Seal numbers should be tracked and confirmed with every shipment, and replaced when broken, tampered with or a new shipment is prepared.

Drivers should be trained to be vigilant to see if they are being followed or if there is surveillance of their vehicles taking place from individuals in the area who are unknown to company employees or parked in unauthorized areas of the loading dock. Companies should commit to working quickly with law enforcement personnel should any theft or tampering be suspected. Simple steps such as keeping trucks locked whenever parked and parked in well-lighted areas can mean the difference between cargo arriving safely or having your cargo shipment compromised by theft. Screen prospective employees well to eliminate those with criminal backgrounds or questionable work history.

Jack Beenie is Ice Road Truckers biggest fan, working close with .

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