Intermodal Cartage Co. had a serious problem. Thieves were regularly breaking into the company's yard in Memphis, Tenn., and helping themselves to the contents of the containers staged there.
Intermodal Cartage offers transportation and drayage services from the 160-acre Memphis facility as well as several other locations around the country. The Memphis terminal, which can hold up to 6,000 containers, was particularly at risk as it's located adjacent to rail yards in an area noted for regular pilfering.
"Our fence was getting cut every four to five months," recalls Neil Taylor, who has the dual role of manager of the Memphis terminal and corporate security manager. "The thieves were 'shopping' the containers—opening them to see what was inside and then taking things of value," he says.
To solve the problem, the company hired Columbia, S.C.-based Electric Guard Dog to install security fencing around the perimeter of the 125 acres used for the yard. The solution includes several security measures. To begin with, there are warning signs in both English and Spanish that caution intruders about the second deterrent—a solar-powered electric fence. The fence has a charge of 7,000 volts—enough to shock someone so that he or she can't climb or cut the fence, but not enough of a charge to permanently injure the intruder. The fence can also be wired to AC power as a backup to the solar charging system.
In addition to the surge of electric current, a loud alarm will sound whenever someone makes contact with the fence. An alarm company that provides 24-hour monitoring is then notified, and it in turn alerts police and company officials. Since the fence was installed in Memphis four years ago, no one has attempted to breach the fence.
"It really comes down to our peace of mind. It is just necessary in this day and age," says Taylor. He reports that Electric Guard Dog fences have also been installed at company facilities in Tennessee and Texas and those of its sister companies where it made sense.