As the coronavirus pandemic continues its hold on the American economy, trucking companies are experiencing a new challenge: a rise in cargo thefts. While cargo thefts have long been a part of commercial truck shipping, the increase in recent months has been attributed to desperation on the part of criminals facing economic hardships. Trucking insurance is only one part of a risk management solution for transportation companies; understanding how to minimize cargo theft incidents can help protect valuable assets from loss. In this guide, we will explore cargo theft prevention strategies that can be used no matter where the road takes you.
Thefts on the Rise
Cargo thefts in the American trucking industry have seen staggering increases in both frequency and value. According to CargoNet, a resource for cargo theft prevention and security in the trucking sector, 2020 experienced a 107% increase in reported thefts. The increase occurred over a period between April 2019 and April 2020. Overall, 2020 saw almost 1100 reported thefts in the U.S. and Canada, with value per theft rates increasing by double over 2019 figure. The average value per theft now stands at approximately $230,000.
Cargo is not the only commodity being stolen at increasing rates. Tractor and trailer thefts are also on the rise as compared to reported figures from 2019. Trailer thefts experienced a 49% increase, while tractors saw a rate 18% than 2019. With the rise in thefts, trucking insurance becomes even more important in protecting company assets.
Strategies for Combatting Cargo Theft
Commercial truckers know that thefts are a common risk factor. To help to prevent cargo from being stolen, trucking companies have adopted technologies like GPS trackers to track stolen cargo and to facilitate recovery. These GPS receivers have been used in tractors and trailers, but they are now being embedded in the cargo itself.
Nighttime security is a focal point for cargo theft prevention. According to theft reports, most of the thefts have occurred during overnight truck parking, such as at rest stops, along highways, and in trucking yards or transfer points. By targeting parked vehicles, thieves may have the ability to take their pick of multiple vehicles. To prevent cargo thefts overnight, truckers should:
- Park only in overnight locations with onsite security personnel.
- Avoid parking along highways and tollways.
- Parking in well-lit areas.
- Parking in areas where cameras and fencing add a layer of protection to security.
Thieves do not only strike at night, and daytime thefts also occur on an ever-increasing basis. Truckers should be advised to be on the lookout for suspicious activity near transfer points or at loading docks. Insider thefts, where workers at a cargo facility are stealing truck loads, have become more common. Suspicious activity must be reported before a cargo theft incident can occur. Training truckers on security strategies and risk avoidance can help to minimize the impacts of cargo thefts – and can reduce the safety risks to cargo and drivers alike.
If trucks must be left unattended, equipment to secure trailers and cargo must be utilized. This equipment can include kingpin locks, door locks, air cuff locks, and landing gear. Although any lock or security device can be defeated, criminals will often seek easier targets when encountering security devices. This added layer of protection can thwart casual thieves as well as more experienced criminals.
Finally, trucking insurance can provide a safety net against cargo thefts. This insurance covers the damage and losses associated with thefts, protecting trucking company assets against out-of-pocket expenses.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!