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Trailer Security Experts Outline Strategies to Create Multi-Tiered Cargo Protection
By Jim Galligan, Contributing Writer

September 29, 2014

There is no such thing as a thief-proof lock, but technology and proper safety procedures can significantly reduce a carrier’s risk of cargo theft, safety experts said.

Multitiered security systems consisting of several layers are ideal, they said, with asset-tracking technologies, driver training, route planning and physical controls such as locks included in the mix.

And should a thief make off with stolen goods, there is broad agreement that the sooner law enforcement can react — perhaps aided by technology — the better.

Asset-location systems “create visibility and enable the carrier and [police] to act faster,” said Jim Sassen, senior manager of product marketing with San Diego-based Omnitracs.

Before the systems became affordable and widespread, crooks would grab a trailer and haul it hundreds of miles to dispose of the cargo, said Jeff Davis, vice president of safety for insurer Motor Transport Underwriters, based in Indianapolis.

“Today, you’ll usually find the trailer close to where it was stolen,” he said. “Cargo is taken off trailers as soon as possible, and technology has had a lot to do with that.”

“Once the trailer is unhooked, technology provides that visibility to show where [the trailer] is at any given time,” added Roni Taylor, vice president of product management with asset-tracking supplier Spireon Inc., headquartered in Irvine, California.

Also, the plethora of activity sensors that can be connected to onboard telematics systems gives carriers much greater visibility about the activity taking place in the truck or trailer, said Henry Popplewell, senior vice president and general manager with technology supplier SkyBitz, based in Herndon, Virginia.

If a trailer is moved without being connected to the designated tractor, most systems can alert the carrier, while door and movement sensors will alert the carrier if there is an unauthorized entry. SkyBitz’s system can also send a signal directly to a driver’s handheld phone.

“There’s a whole portfolio of sensor technology that is being adopted, and a key point is to make security not dependent on the driver,” Popplewell said.

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