Should Workers in International Shipping Companies be Required to Undergo Background Checks?

Do you know that there is over $ 1.2 billion worth of trade passing through Australian ports daily? This makes the shipping industry vital to the development of Australian trade and national prosperity. 

However, the shipping industry is extremely complex; with thousands of cargoes, and workers making sure that products are effectively transferred in and out of the international borders. For something as vital as this, one would think that the most stringent processes are put in place to ensure that the integrity of the entire industry is preserved, but that is not the case.

In Australia, as of 2016, there was no requirement for Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) background checks for those who are responsible for the allocation of labor, and the scheduling of ships. While this may be understandable because they do not need to physically enter a determined maritime security zone, the same cannot be said of workers like seafarers, Stevedores, port workers, and transport operators. 

However, international shipping companies have a responsibility to put strict measures in place to ensure the safety of the workplace and goods that thousands of people rely upon. That’s why international shipping companies should carry out background checks on workers. A commonly used example in countries like Australia is a national police check Australia.

Here are some of the reasons to consider this:


Preventing Theft

Cargo theft is a major problem in the shipping sphere, and losses can get up to $10 billion annually. Theft is typically carried out by unfaithful workers. However, many international shipping companies have insurance that usually covers the cost of missing items. But if it occurs too frequently, such coverage cannot come with ramifications. The first step that employers can do is ensure that they hire workers that pass their basic requirement background checks, especially criminal history checks to minimize the likelihood of theft. 


Ensuring Effective Delivery

When it comes to international shipping, time is of the essence. Late deliveries may drastically distort the plans of the package owner, so it’s important for shipping companies to ensure that they get the best people that can expertly dispatch their roles. From the freight forwarder to the shipper, to the consignee, they must all act with the utmost professionalism. But carrying out screening checks, employment checks, and the likes, employers can adequately judge their ability to carry out their roles. 


Avoiding Workplace Misconduct

There’s no professional sector where violence is allowed, and that includes shipping companies. Employees have to conduct themselves properly at all times because they’re always dealing with customer packages. Full-on violence can lead to the destruction of goods, and injury. Similarly, employers have to make sure that workers do no sexually-harass their coworkers. That’s why repeat sex offenders shouldn’t be hired in the first place. But there’s no way to know about that unless a proper background check is carried out. 


Maintaining a Strong Reputation

When it comes to international shipping, reputation is key. People are not going to do business with a company that has a track record of late deliveries, or misplaced cargoes. Successful international shipping companies like DHL, FedX, and Australia Post thrive on the fact that they hire the best people. A thorough background check can help shipping companies ensure that they get the best people that will strengthen their brand reputation.

Sean is a human resources manager working out from Canberra, Australia. Sean specialises in recruiting new talent, staff rostering, and pre-employment screening.

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