Sadly, the theft of cargo from trucks, ports and warehouses is now at an all-time high, which puts a sharp focus on security.

No matter what happens in the world, the wheels of industry continue to turn and so do the wheels of our trucks. This essential service continues day and night, seemingly unnoticed, but when we consider that they contain billions of pounds worth of cargo, it is hardly surprising that someone somewhere is paying very close attention, and not always with the best of intentions.

The threat to freight

Sadly, the theft of cargo from trucks, ports and warehouses is now at an all-time high, which puts a sharp focus on security and the measures that can be taken to protect freight and those who work within the industry.

The problem is particularly acute in the UK due to the fact that there are still weak penalties in place despite the fact the value of the cargo has increased. The thieves who attack freight are no longer using basic techniques and a little bit of luck – instead they are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to ensure their own success. They are also aware that higher value loads are better protected, and so have been known to target lower value cargo as they are thought to be easier to attack.

Theft is something which has a massive ripple effect. It will not only impact on the shipping company, but also the supplier, the client and their customers if delays and shortages start to occur. It is important to remember that theft is not the only thing that needs to be considered. Once a vulnerability is identified and compromised, criminals can not only take from cargo, but also add illegal and illicit materials.

Losing goods can be very damaging, but you also need to consider the safety of your staff. The industry is struggling with driver shortages at the moment and worries over securities is one of the reasons for this. Putting everything you can in place to protect your drivers is essential in making sure that everyone is safe, and your drivers are happy in their work.

Freight Security

When it comes to security, there is no single solution that will cover everything. A multi-layered approach is essential to allow you to concentrate of training, evolving practices and advancing technology.

Sharing her insight on the industry, Lucinda Thorpe, Business Development Executive of security solution specialists Newgate commented, “Making sure that you implement daily inventory counts means that you can quickly spot shortages or missing products, putting you in a better position of working out when and how this happened. Technology is vital in the war against thieves, and GPS tracking systems are a huge part of this as they can come equipped with alarms which signal when the load goes off route. Of course, a physical presence can also make a difference in deterring criminals, so bringing in security guards to watch, patrol and act can help.”

There are different types of cargo theft which can range from unloading some items to capturing the whole wagon. This allows for the quickest kind of getaway, and so you need to find ways to slow the thieves down. This is why kill switches are added to many vehicles, as these can prevent stolen loads from moving anywhere.

Tampering rather than taking is also an issue that has to be considered, and this can be hard to spot. Using special tape that indicates tampering will protect the goods and establish at what stage they have been interfered with.

Professional surveillance both on your premises and your vehicles will also prove to be very useful in the battle against crime. It allows incidents to be spotted, methods to be unpicked and criminals to be identified, to minimise the chance of thieves getting away with their crime.

Giving all of your staff strict protocols to follow when it comes to loading, unloading and resting will help to protect your goods further and once again narrow down windows when thefts or tampering might have occurred.

When a crime has been committed, a stolen goods database can help you to identify when criminals are trying to offload their haul. It is also possible to employ third party investigation teams who can work towards recovering lost goods.

When it comes to working out which measures you should take, you need to remember that every business is different. Your strategies will need to work for your whole business and should strengthen your relationships with all partners to ensure that no trouble comes from within.

Even if you feel that you have made sufficient security measures, it is important not to rest on your laurels. Things change constantly, which means that you will need to continually review and evaluate your practices to keep up with new methods of attacking cargo and vulnerabilities that may be highlighted.

Secure supply chains

Keeping supply chains secure is important not just for the losses that your business might incur, but for the end user as well. Thefts and delays can impact on the stock levels on shelves, availability for consumers and the potential hoarding of some goods if it is thought to be an ongoing problem.

Thefts from vehicles create shortages, but when trucks are taken off the roads, there can be substantial delays, which can also impact on the supply chains. Tight security measures can help to prevent both from happening and keep goods on the move.

If your business is identified as having weak points, it can become a repeated target. This will not only harm you in the short-term, but also potentially damage your reputation and impact on the number of customers that you can win and retain.

Secure transportation of goods is vital, and it is important not to be complacent when it comes to the measures you have put in place. A theft can impact on the bottom line of your business as well as your reputation, so it is important to make sure that you continually stay on top of things to keep goods moving, customers happy and shelves stocked, no matter what the world throws at us.