How to reduce cargo theft liabilities

Alex Robertson

By Alex Robertson Business Development at King Solutions

cargo theft liabilitiesWhen it comes to cargo theft in the U.S., there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that according to a FreightWatch International’s 2015 US Cargo Theft Report, there was a moderate decline of 6% in the total number of cargo thefts in the U.S. This was accompanied by a sharp decline of 21% in the average value of goods involved in each theft.

The bad news: cargo theft is still alive and well in the U.S. The FreightWatch International report noted that there were 754 cases of freight theft in 2015, with an average value of $184,101 per case.

This equates to 2.1 cargo thefts per day.

The total number may have declined, but it’s safe to say that no one wants to report to their superior, or their client, that they lost almost $200,000 in cargo. Preventing cargo theft is still a large challenge for shippers, 3PLs and other supply chain professionals. As technology advances and it becomes more challenging for thieves to snatch cargo, they simply adapt, and subvert such measures.

How can shippers take measures to prevent cargo theft? It comes down to understanding how thieves work and what you can do to cut them off at every turn.

Know your enemy
Thieves target less than-full truckload shipments that are travelling through areas where cargo theft is less known to local law enforcement, according to FreightWatch International. This is because the case is more likely to be misclassified and not reported through logistics industry channels.

An earlier report by CargoNet noted many patterns of cargo theft incidents, reporting that:

  • California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey were the top five states that reported the most cargo theft cases.
  • Half of cargo theft cases took place between Friday and Sunday.
  • Wednesday was the least likely day for cargo theft cases to occur.
  • Food and beverage items were the most stolen commodity (28% of cases).
  • Electronics and and household items made up 13% of cases.

Take preventative action
Most cargo theft preventative measures take place before the truck even hits the road, and can include:

  • Outfitting cargo with RFID tracking or GPS tracking: this will help pinpoint the location of cargo as it moves from warehouses to other destinations.
  • Make sure cargo is packaged properly and secured: some of the oldest tricks are the best tricks. Trailers should always be locked and secured. If possible, they should also be parked in well-lit areas or within view of surveillance cameras.
  • Keep route stops to a minimum: better route planning will allow for fewer stops. Trucks aren’t often targeted while they are on the road.
  • Increase security at your warehouse: trucks aren’t the only things that thieves target. Invest in surveillance or security personnel at every warehouse.
  • Get ready for the holiday rush: cargo theft tends to increase during the holidays.

Work with partners to boost security
Working with a 3PL is one of the best things a shipper can do to reduce cargo theft. Effective logistics providers team up with drivers that have been thoroughly screened with background checks, ensuring that they are not a risk to your cargo while it is in transit.

An experienced 3PL will also help plan more efficient, safer routes that can reduce the risk of cargo theft. Want to learn the advanced measures that King Solutions takes to protect our client’s cargo? Contact us today to secure your freight.