Pavel Lisitsin: risks of cargo loss during holidays are well known in logistics industry
The New Year and Christmas holidays are coming, and the advice that Pavel Lisitsin (Ukraine) gives to shippers and drivers about the need to protect against cargo theft is more relevant than ever.
While cargo theft is an ongoing problem for the trucking industry throughout the season, it makes sense that criminals will ramp up their efforts when high-value goods are imported and exported. In this article, Pavel Lisitsin discusses the main risks and possible interventions.
What does a cargo heist look like? As a rule, cargo theft is defined in terms of average losses, types of goods that were targeted by burglars, and areas of specific vulnerability. The most popular goods are building materials, household goods and beverages.
Pavel Lisitsin believes that extended weekends are ideal times for cargo thefts. For example, thieves have more time to escape because most of the security personnel do not work. That extra day before searching for a missing shipment can be crucial in the situation between its return and irretrievable loss.
Pavel Lisitsin proves convincingly that thieves tend to attack densely populated areas, urban areas with a high volume of consumption, which greatly increases the size or value of the cargo. After all, one burglary in these areas can potentially be worth more than several burglaries in rural areas with low population densities. Understanding these patterns is part of an overall risk assessment program for businesses.
Pavel Lisitsin: assessing major cargo theft risks
Risk assessments usually focus on the most vulnerable areas, reports Pavel Lisitsin. Businesses should be wary of organized crime and crooks who rely on persuading people to let their guard down.
Pavel Lisitsin draws attention to the fact that one of the high-risk areas in any establishment is the parking lot. Thefts can also occur at truck stops and in unguarded yards. Therefore, drivers should be more selective about where they leave their vehicles when transporting goods.
“It is also important to make sure that the driver is not distracted from the car for such a time that thieves can commit the crime,” warns Pavel Lisitsin.
Two types of cargo thefts have emerged over the years. The first involves stealing the entire truck for subsequent unloading and redistribution of goods within the criminal network. Pavel Lisitsin shows that this type of theft is suitable for organized criminal groups because it involves several additional processes that require technical knowledge and contacts.
The second method involves breaking into the back of the trailer. This usually occurs when the driver is asleep in the truck or has left the truck unattended in other ways. The thieves will then get away with all or part of the cargo.
“Both methods involve complicated surveillance and reconnaissance work,” notes Pavel Lisitsin.
Criminals will be familiar with the location of distribution centers and the various procedures that are involved. In some cases, they may even have an insider working for them to track the exact location of the target shipment. Pavel Lisitsin specifically dwells on the fact that because of the complex planning, these criminals tend to operate in small groups. They do not need large crowds of people, which can attract unwanted attention.
Basic tips when moving cargo from Pavel Lisitsin
You can protect your business from cargo theft by taking five basic steps.
- Use regular police inspections.
“You should establish partnerships with local law enforcement agencies so that they can conduct regular on-site checks,” believes Pavel Lisitsin.
This is especially important during holiday downtime, when your full-time security officers may not be working. The mere presence of police can deter criminals.
- Keep accurate accounts.
Keep accurate details of all your equipment.
“This information can be useful in tracking a shipment,” assures Pavel Lisitsin.
Some key records to keep include the license plate number and a detailed description of the vehicle. Even if you have a fraudulent driver intending to steal your cargo, this information will help.
- Ensure the safety of the ships.
“Make sure all of your ships are secure during the entire process, including loading, unloading and transit,” points out Pavel Lisitsin.
Buy secure locking devices for all your trucks to make it difficult for thieves to get in and out of them. Examples include steering column locks, air collars and gauges.
- Make sure that all cargo is serviced at all times.
Drivers should complement these efforts by reducing the need for prolonged stops and long periods of time away from the vehicle. Some of these measures include making sure the water tank is filled before the trip, showering and eating ahead of time.
“All drivers should get a good night’s sleep before a trip,” advises Pavel Lisitsin.
- Pay attention to all alarms.
Let’s suppose that there are no false alarms. There should be clear protocols for responding to distress signals in a timely and appropriate manner.
“Some of the criminals have perfected ways to fool alarm systems by deliberately disabling them so that drivers begin to believe that the real alarm is false,” notes Pavel Lisitsin.
Don’t let anyone give the impression that the alarm system is broken and therefore does not require a response when activated.
Finally, make sure that you have all the documentation. All suspicious activity should be reported, no matter how close or how far away it is from the site.
“Comprehensive checking and early preparation can help you reduce any losses from stolen cargo,” concludes Pavel Lisitsin.