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How can cargo safety improve your business?

When transporting various materials, certain safety measures should be taken to keep cargo as safe as can be. Read more to discover top-notch safety features used by the freight industry.

The freight industry transports hundreds of different materials, ranging from food and fabric to coal and fertiliser. Most of these materials are valuable which encourages criminals to go to great lengths to steal the cargo while in transit. But rest assured, there are plenty of ways to keep your cargo safe with the help of good fleet management software and its advanced features.

Safety measures for cargo

Cargo is transported through different types of freight channels like land, air or water. No matter the type of cargo, special care is taken to ensure that it is not damaged while in transit. Packaging the cargo in containers and wrapping them in foam, bubble wrap, or any other material is just one way to keep cargo safe and prevent it from moving around or being tampered with.

Shipping companies are responsible for packaging and labelling cargo before departure and are liable for protecting the contents against damage or theft. 

Here are a few tips shippers can take to ensure cargo is handled safely:

  • Use proper shipping supplies like cushion materials, appropriate lashing, and labelling
  • To prevent shifting while on the road, the cargo must be secured on all sides
  • Fill open spaces with various materials like boards, airbags, empty packages and foam to minimise weak points
  • Secure cargo with special lashing on the top and bottom side rails, as well as the corners
  • Use nets to secure cargo in place
Cargo being loaded for shipping
Cargo being loaded for shipping

High-risk cargo

Living in certain countries where crime is prevalent and fleet attacks are common can be stressful for both fleet managers and transporters.

Although cargo theft can occur at any time, criminals usually target goods in transit. This is mainly because of the countless unsafe parking spots and dodgy streets along the way. This is when cargo is at its most vulnerable.

The distance between one point and another might also be a factor in an attempted theft. The more the driver is on the road, the more tired and less aware they get, making them an easy target for hijackers. As a result, crime syndicates may attempt to steal the goods at stop signs, under bridges, in unsafe parking spots or on deserted quiet streets when the driver least expects it.

There are a few preferred features frequently used by fleet managers to avoid these situations, geofencing being one of them. It’s a feature that allows perimeters to be set around any area, or danger zones, that fleet vehicles might pass along their way. 

When the vehicle arrives at these locations, an alert will be sent and if for some reason, the vehicle does not exit these locations, the fleet manager would immediately know something is wrong and can quickly act by sending emergency personnel to the exact location, hopefully arriving just in time to stop the hijacking attempt.

The impact of technology on the road.

With safety measures becoming more sophisticated and technically advanced, it seems crime syndicates have also evolved with the times and started implementing tech in their operations.

Truck hijackings in South Africa have been increasing over the years and don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Last year, Police Minister Bheki Cele reported a sizable increase of 31.7% in truck hijackings across the country.

“Criminals are now so sophisticated that they are using signal jammers, diversion tactics, infiltration teams, blackmail and even planted employees to reach products or assets,” says transport tactical risk specialist, Stan Bezuidenhout, as he shares some insights with Arrive Alive. 

Though this might all seem negative, hope is not lost. While criminals become more intricate and ‘professional’ in their craft, technology will always be one step ahead. Fleet management safety systems have certain features such as CarWatch, Protector, AI surveillance cameras and many others that can add another layer of monitoring and security to protect your assets.

Cargo loaded on a truck
Cargo loaded on a truck

Keeping track of your cargo

Monitoring the arrival times of drivers is one of the most effective ways for fleet managers to keep their trucks and cargo safe. To ensure optimum safety while in transit, tracking companies such as Cartrack provide fleet management solutions to help with daily operations.

While fleet managers do their part to keep their fleet safe, transporters also have the tools to manually protect cargo with certain features provided.

Benefits of geofencing:

Geofencing provides a location-based service that defines a virtual perimeter around any area via GPS, such as a warehouse or even an entire city. 

With this feature, fleet managers can:

  • Live track their vehicles 
  • Identify certain events while on the road, like travelling in an unassigned area
  • Deliver automatic notifications to preset geofenced areas and receive alerts when drivers enter or exit high-risk or unassigned areas
  • Allow immediate reaction if theft of cargo or hijacking occurs

While geofencing is a huge asset in terms of fleet safety, it also contributes to the business’s bottom line. By using this solution, fleet managers will save money that would have otherwise been spent on replacing or repairing stolen or damaged vehicles.

AI-powered and live-stream camera technology:

It is more important than ever for fleet managers to have an extra pair of eyes on the road and ‘be’ present in each of their fleet vehicles. It may be an overwhelming task to manage risk for large fleets, but LiveVision is the dream tool that provides fleet managers with the visibility needed to ensure driver, vehicle and cargo safety.

LiveVision is Cartrack’s AI-powered video surveillance solution that can be used to protect, monitor and record the activities of your drivers and fleet. This solution can be used for fleet management, fleet tracking, and fleet security.

Fleet managers can gain full visibility of cargo by live-streaming the journey from their laptops or phones, or instantly download footage to review events or attend to alerts of potential cargo tampering. 

International road safety rules

While ensuring cargo arrives safe and sound is a top priority, the purpose of certain safety measures is to reduce the chances of attempted theft or road accidents.

A Monash study on fleet management and safety provides insight into how three different countries approach the issue of road safety:

  1. In Germany, The German Traffic Safety Council has advocated the formation of volunteer safety circles, in which the company's fleet of employees gathers to discuss prominent safety issues and find solutions under the guidance of an expert moderator. They also offer one-day "Safe, Economical, and Environmentally Friendly Driving" courses.
  1. In the United Kingdom, various strategies have been implemented in the UK to improve road safety within organisations. These strategies are as follows: driver training programmes, reward schemes, punishments, accident investigations, driver monitoring systems, and driver feedback procedures are among the long list.
  1. In South Africa, we have taken a hands-on approach with our road and cargo safety protocols. We have fleet management and vehicle recovery companies such as Cartrack that offer training facilities for drivers to better improve their driving skills and driving behaviour, as well as fleet management training, helping fleet managers reach a higher operations management level.

We also have a wide range of safety features, specially made for every individual motorist as well as businesses with any number of fleets. These features include Carwatch, Protector, Fuel monitoring, Geofencing, AI-Powered cameras and over 40 reports features that constantly monitor the state of your vehicles as well as your drivers. With all these insights and tools at your fingertips, productivity and efficiency levels within your business will only improve.

Cargo safety inspection
Cargo safety inspection

End goal for driver and fleet safety

Although countries around the world take different approaches to their cargo safety protocols, the end goal is for all to improve road safety for cargo, fleet vehicles and transporters involved in transit.

Implemented cargo safety protocols are necessary steps taken to reach: 

  1. Reduced theft and hijacking attempts
  2. Vehicle accident prevention
  3. Enhanced driver education, alertness and behaviour
  4. Readily available accident analysis reports
  5. Reduces operation costs for damaged or stolen goods.

Improve and implement safety with Cartrack

Cartrack offers security features specially designed to protect your drivers, fleet and cargo against theft, hijacking, or any other roadside emergency that may occur. Put your trust in us and we will protect your assets. Visit our website today to get a free quote.

Explore essential safety features in freight transportation. Learn how the industry ensures secure cargo transport.