May 25, 2016 | Industry Insights, Insights, Shipping

Cargo Theft Prevention: High Alert and Preparation Required for LSPs During Holiday Weekend

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Logistics service providers (LSPs) and transportation intermediaries are being warned to ensure their security practices are up to date and beefed up for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, a holiday linked to record-high cargo thefts. According to FreightWatch International’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center (SCIC), Memorial Day weekends in the past recorded elevated theft levels up to 40% higher than non-holiday weekends. In fact, the 2015 Memorial Day weekend recorded a record-high 15 cargo theft incidents averaging in excess of $600,000.

Following is a list of notable cargo thefts that occurred during past Memorial Day weekends, courtesy of FreightWatch. These include:

2013: California, Full Truckload of Apparel − $300,000

2013: Florida, Full Truckload of Medication − $300,000

2014: South Carolina, Full Truckload of Cosmetics − $200,000

2014: Florida, Full Truckload of Televisions & Displays − $800,000

2015: New Jersey, Full Truckload of Perfume − $2,500,000

2015: California, Full Truckload of Notebook Computers − $400,000

2015: Pennsylvania, Full Truckload of Copper − $600,000

2015: New Jersey, Full Truckload of Tobacco Accessories −$600,000

How Can You Mitigate Cargo Theft?

Logistics and security professionals should heed the security warnings being sent for this holiday weekend, and follow these recommendations to minimize the threat of cargo theft, provided by FreightWatch and Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC):

  • Ensure security protocols are current and in synch with industry best practices for both in-transit and warehouse operations, as both are prime targets over the holiday weekend.
  • Get proactive by confirming that shipment dates/times coincide with your customers’ “open” hours during this holiday time frame. If they don’t, take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of those shipments being staged or stored prior to actual delivery dates.
  • Covert GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments are highly recommended, as they have proven to be the most effective protocols to both mitigate in-transit theft and facilitate successful recovery of stolen product. Also, if you have King Pin Locks, Air Cuff locks, Landing Gear Locks, heavy-and duty trailer door locks, be sure they are being used to the fullest extent possible – both in-transit and in stationary storage. All technological assets, whatever they may be, need to be deployed during these holiday periods.
  • If a rig or loaded trailer must be left unattended, seek a secure lot or choose a well-lit public facility that also utilizes visible surveillance equipment. If a trailer must remain loaded and unattended during this period keep it tethered to the tractor (no-drop policy) and consider backing it up tight against the solid wall of a building. Make it hard to penetrate. If you have GPS technology inside the load, the tractor or the trailer, “geo-fence” all of those units and make any movement alarms annunciate to more than one individual.
  • For cargo shipped during this period ensure that in the event the unthinkable happens and your cargo is stolen in-transit, make sure your shipping list with complete descriptions of the goods being shipped is readily accessible and can quickly be provided to law enforcement officials. Make sure your trucking firm/rail carrier/air carrier has the right numbers to call if something does go wrong. All of your people on that list should know that during this weekend it is entirely possible they could get a call.   

In addition, pay close attention to any warehousing and distribution facilities – particularly ones that won’t be staffed over this period:

  • Fully test all your security alarm and surveillance systems to ensure they are in proper working order.
  • Ensure your back-up cellular alarm system is fully functional.
  • Check all pieces of security equipment backed up by batteries. Make sure all batteries are at full strength.
  • Perform a full perimeter check of your facility(s). Look at your fencing, all of your windows, all of your doors, as well as your roofs to ensure they can be properly secured.
  • Have someone this week check that all your exterior lighting is functional and replace/repair any lighting units that are defective before the holiday weekend begins.
  • Consider leaving more lights than usual “on” inside your facilities during this period – particularly ones that can be seen from the outside.
  • Don’t make it easier for potential burglars by leaving anything outdoors (or within a warehouse) that they could use to help facilitate a crime.
  • Look at your company’s alarm call list now, and make sure it is current/accurate with those at your central station. This same on-call list should be current with your local police department.
  • Remind all employees on your call list to respond immediately to any calls from your alarm-monitoring contractor.
  • Treat all alarms with the same degree of diligence
  • Have law enforcement respond to all alarm events – even when the system is suspected of malfunctioning.
  • If you don’t currently employ a guard service consider hiring a contracted guard entity just for this specific holiday time period.
  • Contact your local law enforcement and request, if it’s possible, additional patrols in the area during this period.
  • If your facility is not gated, make it as easy as possible for a passing patrol car to “see” your critical points of entry. Keep as many lanes open as possible to allow that patrol car to drive around your facility.
  • Talk with your neighbors – offer to assist them by remaining diligent if they, in turn, will do the same for you. Share basic contact information with them.
  • Remove any keys from all warehouse equipment (such as forklifts) and place them in a secure location.
  • In the unfortunate event that someone is able to illicitly enter your facility make sure all important and sensitive documents are locked up.

Roanoke Trade specializes in providing transportation and logistics service providers with the insurance products required to address the various risks you face. This holiday weekend make sure to take the extra loss control steps needed to protect your goods. If you would like more information about our portfolio of products, including cargo insurance, please contact one of our professionals at 1-800-ROANOKE (800-762-6653).

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