In 2013, 951 cargo thefts valued at an average of $171,100 per load added up to over $162 million in stolen goods across the United States, according to FreightWatch International. “While those numbers point to the need to utilize advanced physical security solutions, equally important for freight carriers is to implement an effectively designed, layered approach to protecting high value and high-risk loads,” notes Tom Mann, president of TrakLok International.
Mann continues, saying that the real goal is to prevent theft by having enough time for authorities to be alerted and respond before the cargo is removed from a trailer or container. In order to slow down thieves, consider a robust locking device, an alarm and an integrated communications and reporting system.
Accessible data via an Internet portal that can be easily viewed on desktop and laptop computers, tablets and smartphones is a key component of an effective solution that reports security breaches in real time via cellular and satellite networks. Using a standard web-based application programming interface (API), third-party systems used by carriers can request information updates such as GPS location, lock and latch status and alert conditions.
The integration of information from vehicles into third-party systems allows transportation firms to view data on a single screen. It also means security and dispatch personnel do not need to be tethered to a desk to receive or view instantaneous updates, furthering a quicker response to any alarm or alert.
“TrakLok has developed a system that allows different levels of access and input of data based on a company’s operating policies,” Mann says. “In a typical application, dispatchers have view-only screens, while security personnel could access more detailed information.”
Mann points out that the TrakLok Cargo Security System is a hardened locking and tracking device that communicates a wireless alert in the event of an attempt to access cargo in an unauthorized manner. Affixed to the doors of trailers and intermodal containers, and about the size of a notebook computer, it can be installed or moved between vehicles in a matter of minutes. Features of the system include a geofencing capability that prohibits the lock from opening if it is outside a prescribed area, live monitoring and alerts for lock and latch status.
With the nation’s freight transportation system still vulnerable and thieves growing increasingly sophisticated, cargo theft remains at record levels. “Using integrated locking, communications and management information systems to help prevent theft before the cargo is removed from the vehicle can significantly improve loss prevention,” Mann concludes.