South African companies lose billions of rand each year to cargo theft. Understanding risks can help fleet owners take proactive measures to keep in-transit cargo secure.
Think about trucks in transit, and one of the first things that come to mind is the safety of the cargo. Securing a load remains a key challenge for fleet operators in light of ongoing theft and hijackings. This is especially true since criminals use increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal goods.
When targeting high-value loads, criminals are adept at obtaining insider information about the types of products being transported and the routes travelled. Compounding the cargo theft problem are cases that have involved collusion by employees of transport companies.
The national crime statistics show a 30% increase in cargo truck hijackings in 2015. Criminals are not just stealing high-valued goods like pharmaceuticals and luxury items; they are also targeting products of lesser value, like clothing. Of all the hijackings in 2015, 17% occurred on shipments valued at less than R300 000, up from the 12% of such thefts in 2014.
According to Hein Jordt, MD of Ctrack Fleet Management Solutions, vehicle tracking companies need to continuously invest in research to stay ahead of the latest modus operandi of criminals.
“While companies continue to improve their methods to prevent cargo thefts, the older countermeasures just aren’t that effective anymore. Each day, criminals are getting better and better at their jobs. This calls for massive, cooperative action between fleet owners, vehicle tracking companies and law enforcement agencies, ” he says.
“The best security protocol includes several layers of protection – from GPS solutions to better-prepared drivers, to more structured, less risky routes. With the right strategies in place, all the different parties can work together to ensure cargo gets from A to B fully intact,” concluded Jordt.
Theft prevention tips
Keep moving: The longer a loaded trailer or container sits unattended, the higher the risk for theft. Make sure drivers are clear on trip planning. This includes identifying fuel stops, locations to layover and safe, monitored rest stops. The longer a loaded trailer or container sits unattended, the higher the risk for theft. Make sure drivers are clear on trip planning. This includes identifying fuel stops, locations to layover and safe, monitored rest stops.
Use trailer tracking devices: A tracking device allows you to identify when a truck or trailer goes significantly off its route or leaves a designated area. These devices alert dispatch and allow you to communicate the position of the vehicle.
Pick-up and delivery protocols: Make sure that drivers are always properly identified and that they know exactly they need to deliver their loads. They also need to see proper identification for personnel and make sure they are unloading in the correct location.
Do the basics: Train drivers to be aware of their surroundings and to stay alert while driving or stopping to rest. Educate them on hijacking hotspots and high-risk areas. Use vehicle security cameras. With new advancements in data storage and wifi, mobile video surveillance is now more accessible than ever to small and large fleet operators alike. These surveillance cameras can corroborate
The Ctrack Integrated Camera Solution allows for corroborating details of an incident – such as a hijacking – accurately to track or give a trusted account, recordings, and snapshots of the interval before, during and after the incident.
It consists of up to four cameras that can be mounted forward-facing, facing towards the driver and with views from the inside front and back of the truck . This enables critical surveillance and remote monitoring that’s ideal for most fleet operations.
The mobile video recording system consists of real-time video monitoring, snapshot and video remote search and download, voice capabilities and multiscreen reporting. To ensure complete operational efficiency, the footage is automatically downloaded to the media device recorder via Wi-Fi once the vehicle enters the client’s depot.
Compiled by Leané du Plessis.
This article originally appeared in Transport World Africa.