September 2011 | Commentary | Checking In

Freight at Rest is Freight at Risk

Tags: Trucking, Security

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Today's stressful economic conditions are driving thieves to steal everything that's not nailed down—from railroad tracks to copper wiring. Truckers and their customers have had to deal with the cargo security issue for as long as the five-finger discount has been around. As part of our special Trucking Safety issue, we asked motor freight carriers what strategies they employ to keep your cargo safe. Here's what they told us:

  • Have the right tools—better locks, upgraded cameras, fingerprint scanning, visibility technology, spying devices inside the shipment itself, location devices in the truck and vehicle, fences, lighting, kingpin locks, and others.
  • Add armed guards at terminals.
  • Take extra precautions on holidays.
  • Provide continuous security training for all drivers and terminal personnel.
  • Conduct more thorough background checks on drivers.
  • Park the truck so it can't be opened.
  • Train workers to understand that freight at rest means freight at risk. Your best weapon is to keep the freight moving.
  • Caution drivers to be observant when their trucks are loaded and to drive without stopping for 300 miles.
  • Route trucks to avoid crime-ridden areas.
  • Only take freight that is too big to steal.
  • Stop soliciting high-value cargo.
  • Become more aggressive on theft recovery.
  • Add a bottom well to your trucks for hiding high-value cargo.
  • Equip trucks with panic alarms.

While a few carriers are installing panic alarms, they are not panicking. Most carriers are approaching security thoughtfully and deliberately. In fact, some asked us not to publish the safety and security steps they are taking. But we can safely say carriers are working diligently to make sure your shipments get where they need to be. Are your carriers doing enough? Could they do more to secure your shipments? Tell us how.