Freight theft accounts for billions of dollars in losses worldwide every year, with road transport the major target of criminal activity, according to a recent international report.
Globalisation means that increasing quantities of freight are travelling internationally and attracting hijackings and ‘slash and grab’ attacks en route or thefts from storage facilities and depots. Both shippers and fleet operators need to be aware of how they might be targeted as well as how to avoid becoming victims.
“You may think that it won’t happen to you, but this type of crime is more prevalent than operators might realise, especially for some types of goods ‒ such as cigarettes,” says Gallagher National Head of Transport Roz Shaw.
An Australian transport security professional warns that organised crime syndicates may infiltrate organisations or approach employees to gain intelligence about which carriers are moving what kinds of valuable merchandise.
For the same reason, freight management company the Logistics Bureau advises actively discouraging drivers from discussing details of their trips or routes on social media. Your company should take extra care as to what information is released onto the internet, they warn.
Criminals are looking for vulnerabilities and opportunities, such as the three-day window when a theft might not be immediately discovered that high value freight travelling from Sydney to Perth could be seen as offering.
Vigilance is key
There are digital solutions available for tracking and maintaining visibility of consignments of goods in transit and investing in this technology is a sensible move for larger operators but, the security expert points out, employees need to be trained to be diligent in scanning the freight to enable effective oversight of its movements.
Simple physical measures can still provide protection. Vehicle immobilisation technology can halt a hijack attempt, having your drivers utilise locks and seals on trailers fulfill the same purpose.
Even just training drivers to always park their trucks tail to tail or with the rear hard up against a wall can prevent the rear doors being broken into.
Restricted access to depots and warehouses and 24-hour CCTV surveillance can also provide security, along with regular procedural pallet counts and auditing checks.
“For carriers Gallagher SmartProtect Cargo and Carriers Extra cover protects individuals or businesses from being held liable for damage or injury to third parties or property,” Shaw advises, “and for suppliers of goods that operate their own deliveries, Gallagher Smartprotect Marine insurance includes an open policy that automatically insures your cargo.”
Gallagher provides insurance protection to businesses of all sizes, from sole operators to some of the world’s most iconic brands.