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Tips to improve the security of vehicles and cargo as truck hijackings spike

Supplied image.

Supplied image.

Published Apr 14, 2022

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Johannesburg - Truck hijackings in South Africa continue to affect the country’s economy with a whopping 31.7% increase in this kind of crime in the just over a year.

Truck hijackings haver become a huge challenge for fleet managers, as it means loss of thousands of rands worth of cargo, and sometimes the vehicles too.

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Apart from drivers communicating their whereabouts and exercising caution when they make stops, Webfleet Solutions offers additional tips to fleet managers to improve the security of their trucks and cargo.

Webfleet Solutions’ sales director Justin Manson, has the following advice:

Webfleet Solutions’ sales director Justin Manson. Supplied image.

Protect high-risk cargo

Manson said that cargo was at its most vulnerable when in transit on the road because of the many unsafe parking spots along the route, and the time it takes to get from one point to another. As a result, crime syndicates may attempt to steal it from a stationary or moving vehicle or hijack the truck carrying it.

Although cargo theft can occur at any point in the supply chain, criminals usually target goods in transit.

“The most considerable risk is at unsecured parking locations, where the driver and the load are easy targets,” Manson said.

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He said that to reduce the risk of cargo theft, drivers must lock all doors before taking breaks. They should also be aware of all the vehicle's security features and devices, including panic buttons, telematics, and tracking devices.

“As an added safety measure, fleet managers need to encourage any drivers on the road who suspect that criminals are targeting them to immediately contact the police and remain in the cabin with the engine running,” he said.

Prevent stowaways from gaining access

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There have been many cases of stowaways attempting to board trucks undetected when entering countries illegally. This often happens close to border crossings but is less likely to occur enroute, Manson said.

“In most instances, perpetrators aren't violent, so long as they remain undiscovered but they may cause a diversion to attempt to board the truck, such as placing a barrier on the road to stop the vehicle, resulting in injuries and truck damage.”

He added that because most perpetrators try to board trucks close to border crossings, drivers should park their vehicles in a secure space, ensuring everything is locked while waiting to clear customs.

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Supplied image.

Keeping trucks and cargo safe with geofencing

Keeping track of when drivers arrive at specific locations is one of the best ways fleet managers can keep their trucks and cargo safe on the road, Manson believes.

“Geofencing allows them to do this by providing a location-based service that defines a virtual perimeter via GPS.”

“It also allows fleet managers to track their drivers’ movements and identify certain events, like when they arrive at a location or travel in the wrong direction.”

The software also delivers automatic notifications when drivers leave or enter a designated geofence area, such as a high-risk crime area. Manson said that fleet managers can also define secure zones for trucks to drive through or park using geofencing and map out specific routing.

“Most importantly, this software is crucial in preventing truck hijackings, helping drivers stay on track, and manage their time efficiently.”

He added that fleet managers can create geofences when they know assets will be in specific areas and then, once a vehicle is outside of that defined area, they’ll get instantly notified and can take immediate action.

“This saves them the cost of replacing a stolen truck or cargo.”

The Saturday Star

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