The Forwarder Online Magazine

Be Vigilant on Truck Carrier Selection: Peak Season Pressures

Be Vigilant blogAs supply tightens in the full truck load market, logistics service providers face challenges and pressures in carrier selection. The customer needs the cargo, your normal supplier doesn’t have the capacity to handle your load right now and you feel forced to seek a new trucker, quickly.  The temptation is to skip one or two of the key checks that logistics service providers must take with every carrier selection – that ‘quality’ supplier check-list we remember so fondly from our ISO9000 days.  With the increase in internet sourcing, fraud and theft, conducting due diligence on trucking carriers is more important today than it ever was.

A recent article posted on FreightWatch shares some scary American statistics – which should make us all sit up and take notice.  “In 2014, theft activity concentrated during the seasonal peak period of September through December with a cumulative 245 incidents; the greatest number of incidents, almost one third of the report period’s total, occurred in October as the surge of products flooded the demand to support Black Friday. Two coveted commodities targeted every year at this time, electronics and clothing & apparel, comprised 23% of the reported thefts yielding average loss values of $1,376,750 and $328,051 respectively.  … Theft of full truckloads constituted 89% of cargo theft in the United States with a majority of reported cases occurring at unsecured parking areas.  Many events also included driver theft incidents involving either direct theft by the driver, the driver’s voluntary collusion or complicity in the crime, or a deceptive criminal posing as a legitimate carrier resource.”  According to the American Transportation Association (ATA), driver turnover rate for large truckload companies reached 96% percent at the end of 2014. Who is that person driving the truck with the $200,000 of high fashion?

The next four months, the annual ‘peak season’, are traditionally some of the busiest in North American transportation.  Loaded containers flow into North America from around the world as retailers stock their shelves with the latest and greatest in anticipation of the Black Friday and Christmas shoppers who, they hope, will buy, buy, buy.  Organized crime is getting ready.  Crooks are watching, getting drivers in place and preparing.  It isn’t enough to check on-line to see that the carrier has adequate insurance – websites and insurance policies can easily be faked.  Update your carrier selection criteria. Take the time to ask the trucker for references and follow them up.  Verify the legitimacy of the insurance provider, call and ask them to confirm the coverage.  Check for membership in a provincial trucking association or local transportation club.  Ask for the trucking company’s physical address and if you can’t get someone out to visit the site, at least Google map the street view.  Only work with well-known load boards that you have vetted as you would a carrier.  This is the time when everyone with carrier selection responsibility must be extra vigilant.