Unfortunately, the risk of cargo theft is something that needs to be seriously considered when you’re shipping goods. The security of goods within shipping containers is a major issue, with cargo theft being a very real possibility during several stages of the transit process.
Why is cargo theft a problem?
Although it is relatively easy to protect a container when it’s on-board a ship, it’s the final stages of transit (at port or being distributed by road or rail) that the risk is greatest. If a container isn’t properly and securely sealed, it can be opened any number of times during the transit period, particularly if the delivery of your load is split (which can be the result of consolidated smaller loads). This frequent opening of the container can give plenty of opportunities for thieves. Because of this vulnerability, nowadays there are less consolidated loads shipped, more advanced container security measures, and better security at ports. All of these things have significantly reduced the number of burglaries and resulting theft claims.
However, what has also developed is cargo theft, that’s now bigger in scale and value – and in some countries involving organised crime and a profitable market. Today’s thieves are now highly tech-savvy and constantly developing modern ways and strategies to steal cargo from shippers, which means that in order to protect your cargo you need to use clever protection strategies yourself.
Sure, you could be fortunate and not be the victim of cargo theft, but eliminating or reducing the risk of theft happening will provide you with peace of mind, and you are more likely to deliver a positive customer experience.
Cargo security essentials
Though extensive security measures can (and in some instances should) be taken, there are some simple things that can also be carried out to protect your cargo in transit:
- Ensure your cargo container is professionally and securely sealed
- Use security tape to notify recipients of a package breach
- Use coloured security wrap to hide goods from prying eyes
- Keep invoices private with silver lined mailing bags
- Use security seals to deter potential thieves and show evidence of tampering.
- Work with your logistics provider and review your freight contracts with them regularly
- Have your provider use secure parking whenever possible
- Monitor transit routes ahead of time and work out alternatives
- Secure your online cargo tracking services
- Use tracking devices on your containers and cargo
- Have an action plan if something is stolen
- Have a marine cargo policy which includes cover for theft and protects your cargo to its final destination with a ‘sellers’ contingency clause’ if appropriate.
Although shipping your valuable cargo will always hold the risk of being stolen, you can increase the chance of a safe and secure arrival. In this rapidly changing world, criminals are continuing to adapt and come up with more advanced and cunning ways to steal – don’t let them win. Anticipate and use the developments in security to your advantage, stay one step ahead and keep your cargo secure.