Cargo Theft Prevention: A Strategic Guide to Keep Your Goods Safe

Banner image showing the title tips for cargo theft prevention

We are onto the last chapter of our “Cargo Theft Series,” wherein we’ll discuss how fleet owners and managers can ensure cargo theft prevention. Overcoming a massive challenge like cargo theft requires strategies, tactics, and solutions that could function together and monitor cargo theft risks throughout the supply chain.

Therefore, we have listed some of the most practical and effective cargo theft prevention strategies and solutions.

In this third and final instalment, we will share why fleet owners need to introduce cargo theft prevention strategies, which strategies can help them overcome cargo theft, and key solutions they can introduce to monitor the high-value assets across the supply chain. Let’s cut to the chase and dive right in!

Why are cargo theft prevention strategies needed?

Cargo theft has plagued the Indian supply chain for ages. Indeed, companies have introduced checks and balances to identify frauds, scams, and theft across the supply chain. However, these are inadequate and ineffective in preventing cargo theft. Fleet managers need to ensure cargo theft prevention strategies to —

  • Protect from risks to finance and life
  • Detect and impede planned cargo theft
  • Identify and seal digital breaches
  • Ensure authorised consignment access
  • Overcome leakage and pilferages
  • Restore trust in employees
  • Make better decisions in the long run

Cargo theft prevention strategies and solutions must be designed to keep your resources and assets safe from all cargo theft risks and vulnerabilities. Let’s stroll deeper into the supply chain jungle and discuss some of the most reliable theft prevention tips for cargo.

Top cargo theft prevention strategies and best practices

Here are the cargo theft prevention tips and strategies we recommend fleet managers and owners execute across their organisations and dedicated supply chains —

Image showing the Top 10 Cargo Theft Prevention Strategies for Indian Supply Chain

1. Conduct supply chain risk analysis

An extensive and complete risk analysis is imperative when pursuing a cargo theft-free supply chain. Analyse the various threats and risks involved in the existing supply chain and begin by introducing precautionary measures.

Businesses can make use of employee on-road experiences, historical data on cargo theft, and supply chain management tools available in the market to identify the threats, realise the impact of these threats on overall efficiency and productivity.

Indeed, these tools require high upfront investments. But, one should remember that cargo theft is at an all-time high and is being orchestrated by individuals and groups with highly advanced tools. Therefore, investing in supply chain management tools is better than suffering huge financial losses.

2. Regulate access control to prevent cargo theft

Formulate a system to guard all infrastructure wherein physical access is required. When developing the system, you can consider safeguarding parts like fences and doors with electronic locks and alarm systems, surveillance systems, or appoint security personnel.

Such physical security measures can act as the first defensive wave against cargo theft. However, there’s one thing you will have to ensure without fail — physical access system authorisation. When developing the physical access system, make sure you mention who can access the information accrued by it.

3. Protect goods while in transit with technology

Fleet managers, owners, and supply chain stakeholders will agree in unison that cargo is most vulnerable to theft in transit. This is because the level of security measures applied in warehouses cannot be reciprocated on the road. Moreover, it’s hard to predict the road conditions and situations that might lead to cargo theft.

So, how can companies protect cargo while in transit?

The only way to do that is by installing solutions that enable real-time monitoring of the truck movements (Using GPS E-Locks Tracking System) throughout the trip. Additional measures we recommend are securely packing the cargo, instructing fleet drivers to park trucks only in secure parking areas, and regularly checking for pilferage across the trip.

4. Improve cybersecurity for cargo theft prevention

In our first post in the “Cargo Theft Series,” we shared how criminals are attacking the central servers of logistics companies to extract shipment-related information. Criminals are technologically advanced and use their expertise to break into your system through the Internet.

They seek information like daily supply chain operations, shipment routes, contact details, and more.

The information is then shared with thieves and goons who have the manpower to stop trucks on the road and conduct cargo theft. We highly recommend hiring a cyber security expert who safeguards your server from online security breaches. Moreover, make sure you have an IT professional that ensures security and authorised usage of the company’s internal network.

5. Use of blockchain to secure cargo shipments

Blockchain, a vital pillar of Web 3.0, can also be applied to strengthen supply chain security. The use of a decentralised database allows only authorised personnel to access and update cargo-related information.

This ensures that data related to each individual is properly linked, pushing for a shared system of record keeping. With blockchain, companies can verify and crosscheck cargo-related information via a chain of transaction blocks.

Large logistics companies like DHL and Maersk employ blockchain to achieve superior visibility and control over cargo movement. Blockchain in logistics can also be used for —

  • Inventory management and tracking
  • Improve delivery times and overall efficiency
  • Achieve secure billing and payments
  • Generate smart contractions for streamlined supply chain operation
  • Easy dispute resolution, and more.

6. Focus on adequate due diligence

This is all the supply chain stakeholders — do not undermine the power of effective due diligence. Whenever you bring in new customers and partners, you must put the risk management tools to work to learn as much as possible about them.

Figure out whether or not your customers and partners fulfil safety, security, and regulatory compliance. Here’s a list of information you should seek when working with other companies, customers, or partners —
Image showing the Different Types of Information You Can Use to Identify Your Customer to Prevent Cargo Theft

7. Employee vetting to protect cargo in the yard

When we discussed cargo theft in the first instalment, we realised how easy it is to conduct cargo theft from warehouses in the form of pilferage or leakage. We figured out that in such cases, cargo theft can be termed as an “Inside Job.,” i.e., employees steal the cargo stored in a warehouse.

What is the best way to overcome cargo theft from warehouses and yards?

Three words — Extensive Employee Vetting.

We highly recommend you conduct a thorough background check of all the employees working at your logistics company and maintain a record of them all.

Here’s what you should ask and track —

  • Criminal background and employment history
  • Professional experience
  • Knowledge of security protocols
  • Technical skills
  • Situational awareness and problem-solving
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Attention to detail
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Knowledge of legal compliance

We also recommend you conduct scenario-based interviews to assess their ability to apply security measures in real-world scenarios.

8. Upgrade and maintain compliance and certifications

As you scale your logistics company and expand its operations across the country and globe, you will have to cater to several threat points and risk factors.

The best way to overcome them is by adhering to domestic and international supply chain certifications.

We suggest you stay up to date with the following regulations and ensure compliance with certifications such as

Image showing the Key Regulations and Compliance Certifications You Must Maintain to Prevent Theft of Cargo

8.1. World Customs Organization

World Customs Organization introduces international standards for cooperation and adherence to legitimate trade, fair revenue collection, leadership, and guidance.

8.2. Container Security Initiative (CSI)

Container Security Initiative ensures container safety from potential risk for terrorism. It helps identify and inspect containers at foreign ports before they are placed on vessels destined for international borders.

8.3. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

CTPAT aims to strengthen the supply chain security, identify security gaps, and encourage industry-leading practices.

8.4. Fast and Secure Trade (FAST)

Incorporate the standards mentioned in the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to achieve easier and more efficient commercial clearance for domestic and international trade.

8.5. Commercial Vehicle Registration

Maintain all commercial vehicle registration records and update them whenever required.

8.6. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)

The law helps communities deal safely and effectively with the numerous hazardous chemicals by identifying their storage, use, and disposal.

8.7. International Maritime Organization

The IMO develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping, ensuring maritime safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security, and shipping efficiency.

8.8. Partners in Protection (PIP)

Partners in Protection (PIP) is a voluntary program that has developed regulations to enhance border and trade chain security.

8.9. ISO 17712 – Container Security Seal specifications

ISO 17712 ensures unique security seals, easy inspection and detection, and proper usage or application.

8.10. ISO 28000 – Security Management Systems for the Supply Chain

ISO 28000 helps manage and assure security risks, especially in the financing, manufacturing, information management and transportation, in-transit storage, and warehousing of goods.

8.11. ISO 27001 – Supply Chain Cyber Security Management Systems

ISO 27001 ensures a system in place for risk management and data security with the help of all the best practices and principles enshrined in this International Standard.

9. Invest in training for cargo theft prevention

A logistics company that invests in regular employee training develops an environment that makes all the employees vigilant and aware of the cargo theft potential.

We highly recommend fleet managers educate employees about different ways cargo theft can happen and the steps they can take to mitigate the risks involved.

Moreover, the training should be followed by regular tests of the company policies related to cargo theft and prevention.

10. Work closely with law enforcement

Fleet managers should maintain connections with local law enforcement bodies and officials to solicit help during cargo theft emergencies.

If done strategically, law enforcement officials will alert logistics companies about potential threats in the set trips and provide better alternatives.

Furthermore, developing working relationships with law enforcement bodies will also help with driver exoneration.

Final thoughts on cargo theft prevention

There you have it. We have successfully concluded the “Cargo Theft Series,” in which we effectively covered the different cargo theft tactics thieves use to steal in-transit cargo, cargo theft impacts on the supply chain, and preventive measures companies can introduce to overcome cargo theft.

Remember, we cannot stop miscreants from plotting cargo theft. But we can install solutions that can alert key supply chain personnel — ensuring prompt and effective response to cargo theft activities, risks, and threats.

However, we highly recommend fleet managers choose companies that can provide both cargo theft prevention software and hardware to receive highly reliable customer support, especially when cargo theft occurs. Did you find this post helpful? Stay tuned for more informative posts in the future.

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