If you are lucky enough to avoid cargo theft issues in your transportation activities, you should still be prepared to face it. Cargo theft is one of the 5 main causes of freight claims, as research shows. According to FreightWatch International (FWI), the risk of cargo theft will increase this year, compared to 2014. Cargo theft prevention and recovery network, CargoNet, reported that almost 90 million dollars in cargo was stolen last year.

There are two main forms of cargo theft that companies must be aware of: when cargo is stolen from unattended lots and when identity theft is involved. Often times, criminals act as a legitimate truck driver and steal cargo directly from a shipper.

The case of a stolen Maersk container, that took place at broad daylight on September 3rd, illustrates how easily freight can be stolen. A Maersk shipping container with $10 million in silver was gone from Port of Montreal in the middle of the day. The container was later found, so were most of the thieves and some of the silver. But not every cargo theft ends up like this.

While thieves develop strategies and improve identity theft techniques to steal cargo from shippers, companies should develop strategies to keep cargo safe. The best security measures are well thought-out and planned in advance:

Find Reliable, Trusted Partners. Often, shippers choose freight brokers or carriers based on the lowest freight rate they offer. Shippers may save money in the short run with this strategy, but will get exposed to many security and liability issues.

Cargo Theft Policy and Staff Training. First of all, companies should have cargo theft policies. Second, it`s important to ensure every person involved in transportation understands these rules and knows what to do to prevent cargo from being stolen.

Verify Contact Information. The easiest way to avoid identity theft is to make sure the company representative you’re dealing with really works there. You can simply use contact information on a company`s website to verify employment.

Keep Cargo Moving. Pre-loading is a popular time-saving strategy, but fully loaded trailers on unattended lots creates a great opportunity for cargo thieves. Define the time limits on how long the loaded trailer can remain unattended before it is hauled away.

Check The Truck and The Driver. To prevent fictitious pick-up, check the door of the truck that is picking up your cargo. Motor carrier trucks must have the company name and FMCSA/USDOT numbers printed on the side. Don`t forget to check driver`s license plate as well.

Focus on “Hot Times”. Cargo thefts occurs more frequently on weekends (especially Saturday) and holiday periods – think about all those pre-loaded trucks parked on lots on weekends. Concentrate security efforts in times when thefts are most likely to happen.

Insurance Coverage. Having the right insurance with the right limits is necessary. Despite all prevention methods, cargo theft could happen to your company, and it`s important to have the right loss prevention standards.

Your cargo is stolen or damaged? Check out our helpful guide: 6 Steps to Take When Your Freight is Damaged or Lost