Most of us will hopefully enjoy some downtime over the holidays, but the same can’t be said of thieves. They step up their thievery during this time of year. CargoNet reports there were 112 cargo theft incidents reported in the US and Canada between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 between the years 2012 and 2015.

And who knows how many thefts went unreported? The most common places for these loads to be taken were: 1. Truck Stops; 2. Warehouses; and 3. Parking Lots.

Statistics show that cargo at rest is at an increased risk for pilferage and full container theft, according to TrakLok International. This is especially true over holiday or extended weekends. This time of year is marked by increased traffic congestion, crowded truck stops, and a dramatic increase in cargo thefts.

Here are a few steps transportation companies can take to decrease your risk, provided courtesy Tom Mann of TrakLok International.


Loads at rest

  • Utilize secure lots that provide sufficient barriers to prevent theft or unauthorized access. (for example, the compound should have a chain link fence of 9-gauge material at least eight feet high and topped with barbed wire and it should be properly anchored)
  • Close truck doors before pulling into the lot so that surveillance efforts cannot see what has been loaded on to trailers.
  • Employ the use of Security Patrols in lots where high value cargo is staged for transport.
  • Use security equipment to secure trailers while they are being staged. King pin locks, landing gear locks, and most important are electronic security locks with active alarm systems installed on cargo doors.


On the Road

  • Ensure that a “Red Zone” of at least 250 miles is implemented. (The Red Zone is the distance wherein the driver does not stop after a pick-up). Drivers should be rested, trucks fueled and all personal needs taken care prior to a pick-up so the red zone can be effectively implemented.
  • Report of any “out of norm” occurrences while loading the trailer or while a shipment is in transit. Drivers should notify dispatch during extended stops at areas such as truck stops and rest areas.
  • Drivers and warehouse workers should not discuss any details regarding loads with anyone; specifically drop locations, routes and contents.
  • Consider a no drop policy keeping the trailer married to the tractor so that the tractor and trailer can be secured.
  • Use effective access control equipment to maintain integrity while the shipment is in transit. This includes electronically monitored locks that include a tamper detection alarm system and GPS tracking affixed to the trailer doors.


Additional Security

  • For High Target shipments, employ multiple layers of security to dissuade or delay cargo thieves.
  • Implement regular security briefings to train drivers on surveillance techniques and protocols to follow if drivers detect suspicious activities.
  • Employ a tracking system that includes active and passive alarm systems.
  • Utilize a rugged locking system that will notify the driver and security personnel if there are any attempts to breach the trailer door.


James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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