Ten cargo security tips

Cargo security should be high on the agenda of anyone responsible for the movement of goods

Whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, importer or exporter, these tips will help you avoid cargo-related crime.

1. Know where your shipment is

Know each movement of your cargo. Know where it should be at any given time, when it is stationary and when it is being transferred between carriers. Note when it will arrive at the final destination, and if it fails to arrive start asking questions immediately.

2. Know who is handling your shipment

Do not accept any sub-contracting without knowing that security standards will be unaffected. Realise that sub-contractors may themselves sub contract to the point that you have no control over security of your cargo.

There are an increasing number of bogus hauliers operating, particularly in Europe, who are obtaining contracts to move goods in order to steal them. Is your Carrier sub-contracting to one of these without knowing their background?

3. Set minimum security standards

Document minimum security standards expected from each approved carrier. Make them sign off to your requirements and make sure that they understand that they will be held responsible for any deviations from your standards without your written agreement.

4. Visit your carriers

Inspect third party storage facilities and ensure that warehouse keepers have adequate and current liability insurance in place.

5. Know your own staff

Make sure that background checks are undertaken, follow up references from previous employers and look for unexplained gaps in employment.

6. Keep shipping documents secure

Ensure that access to your computer network is secure from cyber crime. Be aware that organised cargo criminals will seek inside help when planning an attack on your cargo.

7. Enhance security for high-value and theft-attractive goods

Provide enhanced security for high-value and theft-attractive consignments such as high-tech, electronic and computer equipment, high fashion branded clothing, wines and spirits, high value metals, fragrances, sports equipment and clothing to name but a few. Examples of enhanced security measures include:

  • Use of rigid sided vehicles only
  • Vehicle tracking systems
  • Covert tracking devices placed within your consignment

8. Never advertise high value shipments

Use discreet packaging and avoid brand names and logos.

9. Demonstrate that losses are taken seriously

Follow up on the cause of any losses and look for any trends. Ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out and that immediate countermeasures are put in place. Look for similar weaknesses throughout the supply chain before similar losses occur. Have a documented claims handling procedure and ensure that claims are reported without delay.

10. Consult your cargo insurer

At NMU we offer free guidance to help our clients avoid cargo losses. For more information about Cargo Insurance, click here.

For more information, contact our risk control team or your local NMU Development Underwriter.

Related tags


News: War and Strikes Risks Update | 28th April 2022

The current situation in Ukraine and the related sanctions and export controls are widely known, and many... read more


News: Understanding risk and responsibility for machinery movement exposures

Businesses involved in the manufacture of machinery, machinery movements and specialist machinery installations may be liable for... read more


News: War and Strikes Risks Update | 22nd March 2022

The current situation in Ukraine and the related sanctions and export controls are widely known, and many... read more