Whether you own your semi trailers or rent semi trailers, the risk of cargo theft is always present. It seems that news reports about cargo theft are more common every day. And the dollar amounts in these losses continue to increase, as well. Depending on what you’re hauling, it’s easy for the value of your cargo to exceed six figures. And the total annual losses from cargo theft are easily in the tens of billions of dollars.
No type of trailer is immune to theft. Cargo hauled with dry van trailers, refrigerated trailers, flatbed trailers, etc. can be stolen—and is stolen, on a regular basis.
Fortunately, you’re not simply at the mercy of thieves and left hoping that they don’t steal cargo from your semi trailer. There are steps you can take to protect your cargo. And in doing so, you’re also protecting your reputation.
People tend to have serious concerns about working with a company that frequently has cargo stolen. That might not be fair, since you may have an increased risk of theft due to the type of cargo in your semi trailer, the routes you drive, and other factors, but it’s a fact.
Then, of course, there’s the hassle of dealing with cargo theft. Even if only a few items are stolen, you’ve got to report it, talk with the police, deal with your insurance company, and so on. All of those activities take up time you should be spending on other tasks.
Consequently, the time, effort, and money you put into properly protecting the cargo in and on your semi trailers is a smart investment.
How to Protect Your Semi Trailers and the Valuable Cargo You’re Hauling
Can putting “countermeasures” in place significantly reduce your risk of being targeted by thieves? Absolutely.
It stands to reason that criminals look for the easiest “wins.” If two semi trailers contain the same type of cargo and Driver A is taking precautions to prevent theft whereas Driver B isn’t, a thief will surely target Driver B. Why take a greater risk of getting caught for no increase in the potential reward?
That means you want to be Driver A and send a clear message that you’re watching out for your cargo. To do that, take these nine steps:
- Do background checks on all of your drivers. Drivers are no less honest than anybody else, of course. But because they have direct access to the cargo they’re hauling, you have to be as sure as possible that you can trust them. The same applies to anyone you employ who has access to your semi trailers and their cargo. Not only does having a comprehensive vetting process help you hire the most trustworthy people, but it also provides reassurance to everyone who has a stake in your cargo.
- Lock your enclosed semi trailers at all times. If a dry van semi trailer isn’t being actively loaded, unloaded, or inspected it should be locked using the most advanced locking mechanisms available. Making assumptions about when and where a thief might strike can be a big mistake. Drivers and others charged with handling cargo should just get into the habit of locking a semi trailer every time they shut the door.
- Educate your drivers and others about theft methods. How are thieves gaining access to semi trailers? The more your drivers and other employees know about their methods, the better protected your cargo will be. Do your research. Talk with your peers. Talk with local law enforcement. If thieves in your area seem to be focusing on a specific technique, you want to be proactive in protecting yourself against it.
- Use trailer tracking technology. Making it clear that you monitor the movement of your semi trailers or any rented semi trailers provides a disincentive to thieves, who would much rather target shipments that are essentially “off the grid” when they’re on the road.
- If possible, chain and lock exposed loads. If you’re hauling cargo on a flatbed trailer, the fact that it’s strapped down may not be enough to deter a thief. But additional chains and locks may make your load not worth their time and effort.
- Be vigilant when at rest stops and other parking areas on your route. Thieves can get into and out of a semi trailer in a matter of seconds. Thinking that you don’t need to lock your semi trailer because you’re just going to take a fast bathroom break or have a quick meal can come back to haunt you.
- Plan your route to avoid high-crime areas if possible. If you learn that thefts frequently occur at a particular rest area or at the businesses at a particular exit number, plan your drive so that you don’t need to stop there. Can a thief steal your cargo at the rest area 30 miles down the road? Yes, they can. But any action you can take to lower your risk is helpful.
- Limit your stops as much as possible. Some thieves follow a semi trailer waiting for their opportunity to strike. If you drive for several hours before taking a break, you’ll likely exceed their patience.
- Don’t share information about what’s in your semi trailer or where you’re headed. The friendly clerk at the gas station may not use information on the expensive electronics you’re hauling to your destination in a city 50 miles down the road to target you, but you never know about the person loitering nearby.
Protect Your Cargo Properly No Matter What You’re Hauling
A final tip on protecting the cargo in or on your semi trailer is that you should protect it all like it is gold. If you tend to use few security measures when hauling low-value cargo and extensive security measures with high-value cargo, an observant thief starts to notice the pattern. In that scenario, your added security may, ironically, increase your risk of being targeted!
Whether you own a fleet of semi trailers or just rent semi trailers as needed, you should do all you can to protect them on every trip.
Need additional equipment to expand your cargo-carrying capacity? Contact us today to learn about our large inventory of rental semi trailers and semi trailers for sale. Our three-step process makes it simple to rent semi trailers from Boxwheel.