Cargo theft is a year-round threat to motor carriers. In the third quarter of 2023 alone, CargoNet recorded nearly 700 theft events in the U.S. and Canada, amounting to more than $31.1 million in lost shipments. CargoNet reports that theft of a loaded conveyance, such as a trailer, increased 4% year-over-year, adding that distribution centers and truck stops were the favored hunting grounds for cargo thieves.
And thieves don’t take the holidays off. In fact, instances of cargo theft tend to increase around Christmas and New Year’s.
“As we enter the final quarter of 2023, there is no indication that cargo theft activity will slow in the domestic United States,” CargoNet said in a press release. “We caution the industry that throughout this year, strategic cargo theft rings have picked up activity around holiday periods.”
There are commonsense precautions that experts recommend, including:
- Installing high security trailer locks
- Not leaving loaded trailer unattended
- Adding surveillance cameras to yards
Below, we’ll discuss technology solutions that can provide an even higher level of security.
GPS tracking devices give you 24/7 visibility of your trailer fleet. This level of visibility is crucial should a trailer go missing or stray from its planned route.
One key consideration when choosing a trailer tracker, however, is where it is installed on the trailer. If cargo thieves can spot a tracker, they can easily remove it from a trailer. An option like StealthNet avoids detection because it is installed on the trailer chassis. And the hidden installation takes just minutes to complete, minimizing trailer downtime.
In addition to the security benefits, trailer tracking increases efficiency (no more pencil-and-paper yard checks); boosts trailer uptime (know exactly where your trailers are for better utilization); and reduces driver frustration (no more wasting time searching for a trailer when it’s not where it should be).
Geofencing enables you to draw a virtual boundary on a map, and then set up alerts for when a trailer or tractor crosses that boundary. For instance, you’ll be alerted if a trailer exits a geofence around your yard after business hours or leaves the area in which it is supposed to be operating.
And geofencing has other applications to help your operations, such as improved customer service, increased productivity through better vehicle activity tracking and the ability to use historical data to address inquiries and complaints.
Expandability is another thing to consider when selecting a trailer tracker. As discussed above, knowing trailer location comes with big benefits. A tracking device like StealthNet that is compatible with Bluetooth-connected sensors – such as door sensors – takes the ROI to the next level.
In terms of loss prevention, a door sensor can alert you to when a trailer door is opened or closed. Combined with location data, you’ll know if someone is getting into a trailer when they shouldn’t.
While trailer door sensors can aid in thwarting cargo theft, there are many other compatible sensors that can increase efficiency and safety during the busy holiday season and throughout the year.
Tire sensors, for example, provide near real-time data on trailer tire pressure and temperature, helping you to avoid blowouts, costly roadside repairs and underinflation violations – not to mention wasting a driver’s time by having them hook up to a trailer with a flat. Other sensors provide data on brake health, cargo status, lights, reefer temp and more.