Cargo security in Mexico can be improved by employing common sense measures

As is the case in many other places, Mexico can present its own set of cargo security challenges. While some experts attest that cargo security in Mexico is often threatened as a result of acts of random thievery, there is a propensity, in some areas of the country, of cargo loss to be a result of activities executed by well-organized criminal organizations.

According to the FreightWatch International’s Global Freight Assessment for 2013, cargo security in Mexico is a significant supply chain issue in metropolitan areas in Central Mexico, the Gulf Coast and some areas of the Country’s Northeast. Goods most often targeted by criminals fall into the categories of food and beverages, and building and industrial materials. Statistics from 2012 show that cargo was pilfered by criminals by hijacking eighty-three precent of the time, while trailer theft accounted for only five percent of losses. Remaining breaches of cargo security in Mexico were through thefts from:

  • trailers
  • railcars
  • warehouse burglaries

Companies that are transiting valuable goods though Mexico via truck or rail do not have to resign themselves to positions of sitting ducks. Cargo security in Mexico can be enhanced by taking precautionary steps. Some of them of them include:

  • Choosing a reliable partner with whom to conduct Customs business with. It is preferable that any agency chosen have offices and operational facilities on both sides of the U.S.- Mexico border;
  • Considering rail transportation for goods traveling long distances. This is not a completely fool proof method of enhancing cargo security in method, but rail-based incidents are statistically fewer than those that occur with goods shipped via tractor trailers;
  • Checking the security measures taken by the chosen carrier. Does the company perform background checks on drivers to confirm identity? Are criminal and driving records of carrier personnel thoroughly examined and vetted?

Heightened cargo security in Mexico is a function not only of scrutinizing the personnel that is transporting goods, but is also enhanced by the manner in which goods are moved and the equipment that is used to do so. In terms of operations, careful shippers can take the following precautions to transport goods with greater security:
Traveling with a group of trailers if, and when, possible;

  • Employing team driving strategies, thereby reducing numbers of unnecessary and unprotected stops;
  • Using toll roads when possible;
  • Ensuring that warehousing facilities are immediately available upon arrival of goods.

The right equipment can also make the difference between shipping safely and taking risky chances while making supply chain movements in Mexico. Using GPS and satellite tracking devices that provide preemptive intelligence and maximize visibility is a measure that can greatly enhance cargo security in Mexico. Technologies such as Secure Origin’s E-Escort can enable supply chain professionals to ensure and enhance visibility, reduce risk of theft and move goods from their point of origin to their final destination quicker.

In addition to GPS and satellite technology, companies must also remember to provide drivers with more traditional means of communicating their status and whereabouts with dispatchers and security escorts such as fully operational two way radio systems. They are also advised to implement a systems of security checkpoints at which drivers call in to verify that they are on time and on schedule.

As is the case in just about any place in the world in which goods are transported, cargo security in Mexico is an issue with which owners of goods and their shippers should be concerned. Not paying attention to important details concerning an issue as important as this, can result in financial loss that is significant.