To more effectively combat rising levels of cargo theft, motor carriers are being encouraged to develop more detailed security plans for their operations and form partnerships with other carriers, modes, and shippers.

"It really boils down to more effective cooperation within the supply chain – between trucking companies, railroads, shippers and receivers," Walt Fountain, director of enterprise security for Schneider National, told FleetOwner.

"Each freight customer has a unique supply chain – no two are the same, involving different modes, warehouses, etc.," Fountain explained. "It really requires a team effort to combat cargo crime; a synchronized effort that allows for better risk management by everyone in the supply chain."

Robert Furtado, CEO for LoJack Supply Chain Integrity, noted that truckers must take the first steps themselves – putting plans and methods in place to toughen their own defenses against cargo crime before enlarging those efforts to include customers and other transportation providers.

"There are three things that trucking company executives should focus on: (1) Arm yourself with information about theft; (2) Have plans in place in case theft does occur; (3) Use the best technology solutions available to thwart the thieves and recover your stolen property," Furtado said.

"To prevent theft from happening, our advice is to be as well informed as possible about theft trends, most 'popular' theft locations, most stolen products, etc.," he added. "That's why we developed the Supply Chain Information Sharing and Analysis Center (SC-ISAC) — to provide a forum for member organizations to provide information that helps one another better protect the supply chain."

Next, truckers need to develop a comprehensive supply chain security program. "Executives should consult with their insurance carriers and other supply chain partners to find out about available resources they might have and incorporate them into their program to ensure that they are doing everything possible for cargo security," Furtado stressed.

Schneider's Fountain noted that this one area where the trucking industry can't afford to be competing with each other. "We don't 'compete' in the cargo security space – we actively look for opportunities to help others and share information – that's the way we as an industry beat the cargo thieves," he said.

Finally, trucking company executives need to ensure that the best technology solutions are being employed to protect their cargoes—especially in terms of recovering those goods should they fall victim to theft. "Make certain the technology solution you choose has a recovery component that works in conjunction with law enforcement," he added. "If you do these things, you will help protect your cargo from theft, but even more important, have it recovered should theft occur."

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