Cargo theft occurs 99.9% of the time due to internal information being leaked, a trucking consultant says.
“When you are hiring a driver or an employee, check their credit score, their credit history. No one is doing this,” says Paramjit Singh of FSI Freight Solutions.
This will help companies keep an eye on staff and help identify those deemed as high-risk for criminal activity, he adds.
In the past two to three years, incidents of cargo theft in the Peel region have reduced due to use of technology and security self-assessment by companies, he adds.
Security tends to be reactive as opposed to proactive and there is no one size fits all solution for companies, says an expert. Most companies cover the basics and need to examine their gaps and weaknesses, says Todd Moore, vice-president of cargo theft and specialty risk division, ISB Global Services.
Key risk mitigation strategies include security management where the focus is on paying attention to procedures, risk analysis for routes and stops, loss investigations and collection and delivery of records. Secondly, every employee must be trained on cargo security awareness, robbery prevention and driver safety. Also, locks, tracking devices and communication help secure freight.
Cargo worth almost $5 billion was stolen in 2011, Moore revealed at a webinar recently on secure logistics. During 2015 to 2018, the numbers tripled. He says in Ontario, the hot spot is the Peel region. In the U.S., pilferage numbers have been rising, he added.
Preetinder Sahi, owner Sahi Express Limited says his company has not been affected by cargo theft. He says years ago, when he co-owned another company, a trailer full of tires was stolen. “It was a very expensive load, close to $200,000,” he says.
Perform your security audits and identify what are your vulnerable areas, Singh advises. Thieves are aware how the system works and what the consequences are of their actions. Perishables and electronics are at the top of the list of stolen items, he says, because they are consumed quickly. “Make it hard so they can’t steal your stuff,” he advises.
The root problem is organized crime groups that target cargo, says Moore, a former law enforcement official. In Ontario, they include the Italian mafia, Eastern European gangs, Asian groups and South Asian organized crime groups. These groups work individually and join forces when it suits them.
He says they have dedicated theft groups and warehouses where they dump stolen goods and store them till the heat is off. Their members steal and deliver the goods, unload them, and get rid of the stolen tractor and trailer.
The goods are sold on the underground black market and the cash is used as “seed money” to fund illegal activities. “This will never go away, as it is very profitable, low risk and high reward,” says Moore.
Singh says companies should increase employees’ ownership of responsibility by making them sign documents. It makes them aware that if something goes wrong, they will be held accountable.
Reiterating the issue of security self-assessment, Singh says, “At some companies, especially South Asian ones, you will neither find files on employees, dispatchers and staff, nor any photo identification.”
Trucking company owner Sahi says drivers undergo theft prevention training during recruitment and knowledge is brushed up regularly. “We tell them to make sure their trailers are sealed and if you see a broken seal or notice something fishy, call dispatch right away.”
Sahi says his yard has a security guard at the gate, cameras monitor the facility, and the area is well-lit at night.
He also has an ace up his sleeve. His wife and brother-in-law help with the business. “Since family is involved and I trust them, there is no inside information being passed out,” Sahi says.
Moore says a comprehensive “best in class” security program will help mitigate losses, reduce civil liability, enhance business reputation, and assist with insurance premiums.
By Leo Barros