Securing transport depots against cargo theft

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Depots serve as critical nodes in global supply chains, functioning as operating centres for trucks, trailers, and containers, temporary storage facilities, and secure areas to park vehicles. For cargo thieves, transport depots present an excellent opportunity to target an accumulation of valuable assets.

The rise in depot thefts during Covid-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a definite increase in theft incidents from depot facilities in 2020. As countries implemented strict lockdowns and restrictions on movement, thieves altered their tactics, targeting depots rather than trucks in transit. With reduced traffic on the roads, the risk of being stopped by police was lower when stealing from depots.

Securing the perimeter

Effective perimeter security is crucial to prevent unauthorised access to depots. This includes:

  1. Adequate perimeter fencing at least 2 metres tall, constructed with robust materials and buried in the ground.
  2. Outward-facing v-irons supporting barbed or razor wire.
  3. Signage stating the depot is under surveillance.
  4. Sufficient lighting covering all operational areas, with motion-activated PIR sensors.
  5. Trailer security measures like kingpin locks, bull locks, and keeping keys secure.

Surveillance systems

Businesses should invest in high-quality CCTV equipment that can recognise number plates, vehicle colours, and individual details. Cameras should cover entry points, exterior walls, loading docks, and the yard. Regular maintenance and monitoring are essential, along with adequate lighting to support clear recordings.

Visitor and access control

Logging all visitors, contractors, and truckers accessing the site is crucial. Procedures should limit the use of physical keys, recover access cards from former employees, and encourage staff to challenge unfamiliar individuals. Due diligence is necessary when verifying the legitimacy of collecting drivers and third-party security providers.

Risk assessments and security management

Conducting regular risk assessments and having a robust security management system in place is essential. This includes documented security policies and procedures, corrective action plans, maintenance contracts for security systems, and training programs for employees.

Information security

Limiting access to warehouse management systems and prohibiting the sharing of workstations is vital. Hard copy information should be stored securely, and staff should be aware of the importance of security and reporting breaches or suspicious activities.


Implementing sustainable security solutions, regular inspections, and maintenance of installed equipment is critical to protect depots from cargo theft. Stakeholders should consider the costs associated with cargo loss, reputational damage, property damage, and risks to employees.

Mike Yarwood

TT Club

David Thompson

Signum Services