The Hanover Insurance Group

GPS for cargo security

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have become an important tool for protecting goods in transit. The ability to remotely monitor the transit, progress, route and location of the goods provides valuable data and peace of mind to the carrier and the shipper. Using a GPS cargo security device poses a number of basic questions about the type of system you will need. This bulletin will help you make sense of the options available to you.

Do you monitor the vehicle or the cargo?

Many GPS systems are based on monitoring the vehicle, tractor or the trailer. If your interest is the goods inside the trailer, then you should consider monitoring the goods themselves. Locating an abandoned trailer or truck does not help you recover your goods.

Is the monitoring an overt or covert undertaking?

Obvious placement of antennae and GPS equipment can send a deterrent message to cargo thieves. The use of external devices tells the potential cargo thief that this shipment is subject to GPS locating equipment. It is also possible for the thieves to disable external antennae and defeat the service. In many cases you will need to balance the deterrent factor of overt equipment with the reality that it can be defeated. Covert equipment hidden in the load will allow you to track the movement of the cargo, not the conveyance.

How will the shipment be tracked or monitored?

Cargo theft is a fast moving business. The trailer is moved to a second location quickly.

The trailer is then emptied or changed to disguise it from detection. If you depend on the driver reporting the theft, and the notice working its way through a chain of command, then you may find that the GPS system located your empty vehicle. Shipments that can be dynamically tracked or located can lead to recovery and apprehensions. Online access to tracking data at your location via the internet allows you to respond quickly.

What type of GPS system is used?

The type of GPS system is also important. Cell tower assisted GPS systems offer wider coverage and greater ability to locate vehicles inside buildings or under cover. Understanding the battery life and signal strength of the GPS devices is also a consideration.

Please contact your Hanover Risk Solutions consultant for further assistance with cargo security. Your local GPS vendor or one of our Risk Solutions partners, available through our website,, can help you select a GPS system to suit your application.

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The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC APR 2019 09-230 H
171-0900 (1/14)