Cargo Theft Spikes During Holiday Season: How to Prepare

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Cargo is any shipment moved via trucks, planes, rail cars, ships, etc., from point of origin to final destination. If merchandise is stolen at any point in between, then it’s considered cargo theft (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Cargo theft frequency decreased by approximately 15 percent in 2017, but is still expected to be a prevalent issue during the 2018 holiday season (American Trucker). 

Holiday Season Spikes

Whether it is Labor Day barbecues, Halloween trick-or-treating, or Thanksgiving turkeys, the holidays create an increased demand for food and beverage products. While there are many different commodities susceptible to cargo theft, the food and beverage category remains one of the most active, making up 19% of total cargo thefts (Overdrive). According to Scott Cornell, theft specialist for Travelers Insurance, “People target food and beverage because there are no serial numbers on pistachios, for example. There is no RFID tag attached to them or hidden in their packaging” (FleetOwner). This makes it easy to re-sell the products immediately. In addition to food and beverage shipments being desirable to cargo thieves, the holiday season is a notoriously high risk for manufacturers and logistics-related organizations because of the high numbers of unattended shipments (Truckinginfo).

Stay Prepared

To combat the increased threat during the holiday shipping season, there are important steps to be taken by all parties in the supply chain.

  • Be Aware of Hours of Operation. It is important for logistics and security professionals to confirm holiday hours of operation with shipping partners to mitigate any shipping delays. This will help to avoid unattended or parked freight (CCJ).
  • Do Research. Shippers should be picky with who they decide to work with. Only work with carriers who have proven track records and solid references. Make sure they have secured yards with cameras installed and a 24/7 operation.
  • Move Out of Major Metropolitan Areas. If a trailer is loaded in a densely-populated city (where cargo theft is more common), advise the driver not to stop until they are 150 miles away from the point of origin, if possible. Whether in a large city or not, drivers should also avoid leaving their truck unattended.
  • Use Multiple Locks. By using a combination of well-made door padlocks and a king pin, carriers can add an extra layer of security to shipments they haul.
  • Use Technology. Make sure trucks are equipped with GPS-enabled tracking devices to directly pinpoint the shipment’s location at all times. This will help to mitigate theft and help in recovery efforts.  
  • Develop Internal Security Procedures. Advise your team on what to look for, how to react quickly and safely, and who to contact should a cargo theft incident occur.

“The organized criminal dedicates an inordinate amount of time to surveillance, preparation, and rehearsals. We must dedicate ample resources to proactively combat this growing threat,” said FreightWatch. It is important everybody does their part to ensure safety and prevent theft.

The LoadDelivered Advantage

We can help keep your products secure this holiday season. With over 10 years of experience specializing in food and beverage shipping, we know what’s at stake. Our carriers go through a rigorous, 100-point compliance process to ensure they are reliable, safe, and trustworthy enough to handle high-touch freight. Additionally, we leverage innovative geo-tracking and visibility tools so that our customers know where their freight is at all times. Think we might be able to help you with your holiday shipping needs?

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