How to Protect Your Trailer From Cargo Theft  

trailer in New York

Cargo theft is a serious threat to trailer fleets of all sizes, and it’s estimated that people committing this crime steal an average value of $214,000 for just one trailer.  

It’s interesting to see how high-target items have changed over the past few years. In 2020, people who were stealing from trailers had their eye on high-demand household goods like bleach and toilet paper while everyone quarantined during the pandemic.  

In 2021, electronics were targeted because of supply chain shortages. Household appliances and furniture were the most targeted items in 2022; currently, food and beverages are the top stolen cargos. 

“I’ve worked with CargoNet, DHS, and the FBI on cargo security technologies and trucking industry cybersecurity problems,” said Ross Froat, Great Dane Executive Director of FleetPulse. “In my experience, electronics, appliances, and food are security priorities.” 

But no matter what you’re hauling, every fleet can be a target, especially in the months leading up to the holidays in December when cargo theft is most common. 

Trailer Telematics Provides Security 

Great Dane’s comprehensive trailer monitoring system, FleetPulse, provides an impressive defense against criminals. 

FleetPulse telematics data is a powerful tool for keeping trailers and cargo secure. For example, FleetPulsePRO is able to detect whether a trailer is loaded or unloaded by monitoring the airbags on the bogie.  

Fleet managers can also use FleetPulsePRO to set alerts based on the VIN number to alert them when a specific trailer door is opened outside of a geofenced area.  

“FleetPulse is a single power-sourced hardwired system that includes the door sensor. This assures a solid signal connection and allows users to make easy settings changes in the FleetPulse platform for when and how they want to see open-door alerts,” Froat said. “Other systems with wireless door sensors require small independent batteries and Bluetooth connections, both of which are more vulnerable in a trucking environment.” 

The GPS Advantage 

Fleets running pre-owned trailers or trailers not manufactured by Great Dane without FleetPulse can utilize FleetPulseGO, which is available as a retrofit option. FleetPulseGO is a GPS-only solution that uses the FleetPulse trailer telematics platform.  

GPS is a powerful security tool on its own.  

A 2022 National Retail Federation (NRF) survey indicates that 47% of retailers experience cargo theft while trucks are traveling from distribution centers to stores, and 35% experience cargo theft when trucks are traveling from a manufacturer to a distribution center.  

With FleetPulseGO, fleets can monitor a trailer’s location in near real-time and even track the equipment if it was stolen. 

Updating FleetPulse for the Future 

Froat says a cargo camera solution is being developed to be integrated into FleetPulse. Through this new development, customers will continue to have one subscription, one platform login, and a history of photos of each asset equipped, new or used. 

“Cargo cameras are in demand in the market, are FleetPulse customer-driven, and are a strategic solution to our future-focused direction,” Froat says. 

In addition, FleetPulse is testing a hidden tracker for customers interested in extra security. By utilizing this feature, the fleet will be able to track its location no matter how the primary FleetPulse telematics device is installed and possibly vandalized during trailer theft.  

With all of its security technology, FleetPulse gives fleet managers peace of mind that their trailers are safe and secure. 


Want to learn more? Here’s a series of videos about FleetPulse smart trailer telematics system.