Cargo Thefts & How to Prevent Them: What You Need to Know

December 05, 2016 | 0 Go Back to Blogs

Cargo theft has been a problem in the supply chain forever but is continually increasing, with attacks becoming more organized and intelligently planned. Incidents reported to the Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Incident Information Service (IIS) reached a five-year high in 2015, with 1,515 recorded freight thefts representing a 37.4% increase year-on-year. The FBI places the annual economic toll cargo theft takes somewhere in the range of $15-$30 billion.

Here’s a few additional statistics you may want to know:

  • Average number of cargo thefts per month: 63
  • 49% of cargo thefts occur between Friday and Sunday
  • 61% of cargo thefts occur at truck stops or official rest stops

Cargo theft tends to increase over holiday weekends. With the holidays ahead, be sure you’re aware of the hot spot locations cargo theft occurs, the types of commodities most wanted and how you can prevent cargo theft from happening to you.

Where is cargo being stolen?

Certain locations in the U.S. are known as ‘hot spots’ with ‘hot cargo’.  Check out the graphic below from CargoNet to learn the ‘hot spots’ this year. According to CargoNet, California saw a 40% increase year over year in reported cargo thefts. And in case you were wondering, electronics were the most stolen commodity type along home and garden items this year as eported by FreightWatch.

Cargo Theft Incident Frequency 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past, truck stops were your typical cargo theft hot spot. Today, thieves focus primarily on the shipper facilities/warehouse locations. Secured yards come in second for most cargo thefts.

Commodities Most Frequently Stolen

Here’s a quick look at what commodities are most frequently stolen. Be sure you’re aware of which one you’re hauling to be better prepared and on watch.

  • Food and beverage: 24%
  • Other: 18%
  • Electronics: 15%
  • Home goods and furniture: 12%
  • Machinery: 9%
  • Tools and hardware: 8%
  • Apparel: 7%
  • Building/supplies: 7%

Food and beverages is the commodity most frequently stolen. Why is that? A few reasons:

  • They are harder to trace as they lack unique serial numbers
  • Perishable items don’t last long so ‘evidence’ can disappear
  • These are high-value products that are easy to sell

Reducing Your Risk of Cargo Theft

Whether the products you haul or ship are of high-value or not, it’s always best to take the right precautions to protect your cargo.

Here’s how shippers and brokers can safeguard their supply chain:

  • Work with carriers with proven track records. If possible, ones that have been thoroughly background screened and vetted.
  • Utilize technology to track your cargo at all times. Visibility is key!
  • Have a contingency plan in place in case a theft incident does occur.

How drivers can keep themselves and their cargo safe while haulin’:

  • Don’t leave a loaded trailer by itself for a long period of time
  • Park in a secure compound whenever possible.
  • If you cannot access a secure compound, park your loaded trailer in a very well lit area that doesn’t have a history of theft.
  • Close trailer doors before you drive into open view to avoid possible thieves from viewing your cargo.
  • Never keep a spare set of keys inside your truck.
  • Maintain communication with dispatch especially if you stop for an extended amount of time.
  • Refrain from talking about your cargo, route and destination to others.

There are also devices that can also help drivers reduce cargo theft. These include:

  • Steering locks
  • Padlocks for trailers
  • Kingpin Locks
  • GPS tracking Unit

In addition to these types of devices, there is also a new technology known as BioLock, developed by SoftServe, a global technology solutions provider. BioLock uses an electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor analysis to provide an additional level of security and continuously monitor the health of drivers. These biosensors are embedded into the truck’s steering wheel and mobile devices to easily ‘recognize’ and monitor users with a simple touch.

BioLock’s technology is completely personal to the driver. It can also alert the system to irregularities in the driver’s heartbeat making it more difficult for thieves to intimidate the driver into opening the cargo.

Safety and security is a top priority for Overhaul and our clients moving high value cargo. As a development partner to SoftServe, we plan on integrating BioLock in the future as the driver authentication technology aids our commitment to prevent cargo theft while keeping our driver’s safe. We also provide full visibility to where cargo is at and have the best of the best Owner Operators and drivers within our Trusted Driver Program. To learn more about Overhaul’s security features, visit our website at over-haul.com.


References

“Cargo Theft Statistics & Prevention [Infographic].” LoadDelivered, LoadDelivered Logistics, 28 Sept. 2016, www.loaddelivered.com/articles/cargo-theft-statistics-prevention-infographic/. Accessed 29 Nov. 2016.

Lockridge, Evan. “Truck Cargo Theft Figures Mixed, Overall Value of Heists Falls.” Heavy Duty Trucking Trucking Info, Trucking Info, 7 Nov. 2016, www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/news/story/2016/11/truck-cargo-thefts-figures-mixed-overall-value-of-heists-falls.aspx. Accessed 29 Nov. 2016.

“Protecting Cargo During the Holidays.” Find a Trucking Job, www.findatruckingjob.com/trucking-info/trucking-news/protecting-cargo-during-holidays.

“Reporting of Cargo Crime Reaches a 5-Year High in 2015 as More Police Forces Capture and Share Incident Intelligence.” British International Freight Association, BIFA 2016, Feb. 2016, www.bifa.org/news/articles/2016/feb/reporting-of-cargo-crime-reaches-a-5-year-high-in-2015-as-more-police-forces-capture-and-share-incident-intelligence. Accessed 29 Nov. 2016.

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