This upcoming Memorial Day weekend serves as a reminder to members of the transportation industry/supply chain to be on alert and use extreme caution for cargo theft.
According to FreightWatch International, US cargo theft increases 28 percent during the holidays, mainly because cargo sits during the holiday weekend and, as we are well aware of, cargo at rest is cargo at risk, serving as a “sitting duck” for thieves everywhere.
Cargo theft continues to remain a growing problem, with the number of incidents reported last year increasing 17%, up 180 incidents from the previous year, as cited in CargoNet’s 2011 theft report. These 1,215 shipments stolen resulted in a loss of $130 million in 2011.1 Could your company take a loss like that and not even think twice about it?
TOP AT-RISK LOCATIONS
When looking at last year’s numbers, truck stops accounted for the greatest number of thefts, followed by warehouses/distribution centers, and parking lots. 1
Although cargo theft can occur anytime, anywhere, CargoNet lists the top 10 states that represented the highest reports of cargo theft in 2011 with New York and Indiana being new to the list. The results were as follows (top ten states at risk represented with a star. NY and NC tied in 10th):
As mentioned earlier, cargo theft increases during the holiday season and on weekends when trailers await their Monday deliveries. Looking at the ISAC’s graph on the right, 2012’s first quarter experienced 233 cargo thefts, with 79 occurring on Saturday/Sunday. The middle of the week experienced the least number of thefts.
TOP COMMODITIES AT RISK
Last year, food/beverages made the spotlight as the greatest target among thieves followed by electronics; however, this year’s 1st quarter has shown a drop in stolen food products to the number two spot. Ranking in as the current greatest commodity target …metals.
In fact, according to FreightWatch International, “cargo theft in the metal industry in the United States has increased 254%,” rising from “13 thefts in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 46 incidents in the first quarter of this year.” 2
Theft results in a loss of more than $30 billion in the transportation/shipping industry each year. What’s even more stunning is that 85% or more of these thefts are a result of insider jobs, individuals who had the information/ability and used it for their own benefit.
Drivers have been known to stage their own hijackings, arranging to leave their trucks unattended at a specific time in which their accomplice then moves in, stealing the loaded truck in exchange for money.
Other drivers utilize what they know about a shipment/trucking company, not to steal the freight themselves, but rather distribute their information to thieves in return for compensation.
According to the Journal of Commerce, thieves “will also hire former drivers to carry out fraudulent pickups at warehouses because the drivers know the routine and the documentation that is needed.” 3
Road Scholar is helping prevent your risk of cargo theft with the following tips:
-Do not leave cargo unattended. If necessary, be sure to the trailer is in a secure area.
-Vet out carriers and verify drivers prior to trusting them to handle your freight.
-Utilize trailers equipped with security features including satellite tracking, navalock, geo-fencing, and electronic door monitoring.
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