Cargo theft has been a problem in the supply chain throughout the United States, but that problem is continuing to be more of an issue as more freight thieves are targeting more cities in the U.S.
Back in 2020, the top targets were household goods. While in 2021, that switched to electronics. Now, in 2023, food and beverage products that are entering a port or a warehouse are the top targets.
Per CNBC , Los Angeles is the top national target, though other cities are also seeing a spike in freight theft including: Houston, Miami, Savannah, Newark, New Jersey, Memphis, Chicago.
Cargo Theft Tactics To Be Aware Of
There are many different cargo theft tactics to be aware of… one being just simply straight up cargo thefts. Others being a more strategic approach, or the use of technology.
Straight cargo theft –
Straight cargo theft is simply when cargo thieves are looking for whatever they can steal and sell quickly, doesn’t matter what the commodity may be.
Typically, these thefts occur around truck stops, parking lots, roadside parking, drop lots, or any other area where cargo could be left unattended.
Strategic Cargo Theft –
This is a more deceptive way of theft. Sometimes this involves the use of more unconventional methods, like using fraud and/or deceptive information to truck shippers/brokers/carriers to give the load to the thieves instead of the true carrier.
Typically, these thefts can occur when loads are being brokered late in the afternoon on Friday, in an effort to see if time constraints and deadlines will lead to mistakes and less strict ways to vet the carrier.
The Use of Technology –
“Sniffers” – devices that some cargo thieves use to help detect covert GPS technology. It essentially detects a device and then they use a GPS jammer to block that technology so it’s unable to be used to help locate the stolen cargo.
Protecting Your Goods From Cargo Thefts
Cargo theft is estimated to cost trucking companies and retailers around $15 billion to $30 billion a year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
From drivers to warehouse workers and everyone in between should be trained to recognize, prevent and report cargo theft techniques.
One way to effectively combat cargo theft, that Travelers details is to identify the product’s susceptibility to theft and then developing the appropriate strategies to not just protect the cargo, but your business as well.
Some things to keep in mind when you evaluate the theft potential for your goods in transit is to understand how your cargo will travel and the route it will take, develop routes that avoid areas with ‘known’ high-crime, and enforce high security standards within your operations.
Should you have any questions regarding this and how it could impact your shipments, please reach out to our team today.
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