Transportation security

Shortly after 9/11, Salt Lake City, Utah-based trucking company CR England delivered a load of Brussels sprouts to a customer. The load was refused because the seal on the trailer was broken.

The customer complained that it had not been informed of this, and was concerned the load may have been contaminated. CR England's response: “If someone wanted to poison the population of the US, they probably won't do it with Brussels sprouts.

“I tell you that to demonstrate the critical nature of the products being transported, and the importance of the seal being intact to show that the load hasn't been tampered with. The next significant matter in maintaining load integrity is the temperature of the shipment.”

That was how Corey England, CR England's executive vice president, opened his presentation to the Truckload Carriers Association Refrigerated Division Annual Meeting. His topic: Transportation Security - Keeping The Food Safe And The Truck Moving. He offered an overview of how his company goes about assuring load integrity.

At the Shipper:

  • Drivers must verify that the reefer temperature matches the bill of lading (BOL) temperature. “It's a simple concept, but it's amazing how often this is not done.”

  • Drivers must circle the temperature called for on the BOL to verify that they acknowledged the requirement.

  • Drivers must enter the BOL temperature in the “Billing Call” that is sent from their tractor's Qualcomm unit. “If the Billing Call temperature varies from the load assignment, an auto message is sent to the driver and his/her driver manager to alert them of the discrepancy.” This must then be resolved before the error messages stop.

  • Each driver is issued — and required to have — a pulp thermometer to establish the product temperature at loading. Drivers must measure the pulp temperatures in the nose, middle, and tail of trailer and record these on the bill of lading. Discrepancies larger than +/- 5 degrees must be reported. “These are just processes to ensure that we can see on the BOL that drivers are doing what they need to be doing.”

  • On live loads, drivers must verify the count and condition of the product being loaded. Minor damage is to be noted on the BOL. If there is major damage, the product is refused.

  • On preloaded trailers, before signing the BOL and taking possession, drivers must verify that the reefer is set and running correctly.

  • Drivers must seal all loads. If no customer seal is used, drivers must secure with a CR England company seal. They must also note or verify the seal number on the BOL.

  • Drivers must scale their load at the origin. “This not only reduces the requirement of the seal being compromised in transit, but it allows drivers to return the load to the shipper to adjust the weight, relieving them of liability.”

  • All loads must be secured by using CR England-issued padlocks. “We issue an Enforcer Security padlock to every one of our drivers and require them to secure their loads in transit. We've used these locks for several years now and feel good about them. I am surprised by how many trailers in transit are sealed, but not locked.”

  • All company and contract drivers are required to sign CR England's Load Security Policy at the time of being hired, stating they understand the company's policies and procedures, and that they have received a pulp thermometer and trailer padlock.

In Transit:

  • Drivers must manually monitor the reefer temperature at a minimum of every four hours, and every time they exit the truck. This, obviously, doesn't apply if a driver is sleeping.

  • Qualcomm's OmniTRACS systems are used to monitor reefer temperatures. Discrepancies are administered by CR England's Cargo Claims Department. Among the items looked at: setpoint versus booked temperature; supply air temperature versus booked and setpoint; return air temperature versus booked and setpoint; temperature variance; and any alarms.

  • Trailer drop policy is that each load is ranked by risk — value, product sensitivity, or product security. Based upon that, a determination is made as to the type of drop yard to be used: company secured yard (gate and security), company yard without security, or a non-company, non-secured location.

At the Receiver:

  • Drivers must have the receiver sign for the seal prior to it being broken, and witness the breaking of the seal.

  • Drivers must monitor the unloading of their trailer on all live unloads.

  • Drivers need to search the bill of lading for any unmentioned, but noted, problems with the shipment before leaving the consignee.

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