The Threat of Cargo Theft

Posted by Port City Logistics on Jan 2, 2019 1:05:26 PM
It used to be that most cargo theft targets were always high-priced items. By today’s standards, such items would equate to electronic goods, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. While these items are still highly targeted goods, it is also important to understand that other goods have become bigger targets since the economic recession of 2008. Now, cargo criminals will target any items they can sell for a decent profit margin. This includes energy drinks, frozen seafood or meat, pharmaceuticals, home and garden items, construction materials, auto parts, clothing and shoes, metals, personal care products and tobacco.

Fake Shippers

With the growing use of online job boards to match shipments with independent drivers and smaller trucking companies, clever criminals have determined a way to infiltrate these boards as an easy way to steal cargo. They create fictitious identities as drivers and even falsify trucking companies to win bids. They will even show fake insurance, licenses and anything else required to pick up a shipment. Once the shipment has been successfully handed off to the impostors, it’s difficult to track and recover.

Shipments In-Transit and Unattended Cargo Theft

In-transit shipments and unattended cargo are much more commonly targeted shipments rather than fake shippers. These thefts will often occur in the middle of the day with many potential witnesses who may not know what they are witnesses to. Thieves choose areas that will not necessarily seem out of place for cargo to be unloaded or loaded into another truck, such as port facilities, drop sites, parking lots and strip mall loading docks.

Another tactic is to distract or render the driver unable to protect his or her cargo, break into the trailer and steal a handful of items to prevent theft detection. Such thefts have even been known to occur at stoplights when a thief spots an unlocked rear door.

Technology and Cyber Threats

Cargo criminals are definitely keeping up with the latest digital technologies. Even if you use GPS transponders on the truck and inside the trailer, criminals can use GPS jammers to prevent the tracking of shipments. The more sophisticated gangs and criminals will infect companies with viruses and Trojan horses to access essential information to learn of future shipments and their shipping routes to be able to pilfer in-transit.

Warehouse Cargo Theft

Theft of goods from within a warehouse is more difficult, but still done if security is lax. Thieves may walk right into the warehouse during business hours acting as employees to steal goods within plain sight, or they may break in during the night to steal from drop shipments or partially or fully loaded trailers awaiting shipment in the morning.

Theft Prevention

Be sure to only use reputable third-party logistics providers. If you do use a startup or an online bidding site for your transportation needs, verify email addresses, phone numbers and carrier packets. Read online reviews to verify past activity, and make sure in-house drivers walk around the truck after every stop to look for any sort of infiltration or pilferage. And carefully select your shipping department hires as theft often begins from within the company, and train all employees throughout the company on signs to look for pertaining to cargo theft onsite and offsite.

Targeted Security Solutions

All reputable Logistics Management companies should have adequate security within the warehouse and inside yard gates. Measures like GPS tracking works in concert with other methods and most freight agencies have security in depth. RFID chips and sensor cameras inside trailers offer means of detection and helps law enforcement detain offenders. 

Cargo theft can eat into profit margins, increase insurance premiums and destroy consumer confidence. Even if you’re not transporting high value cargo, your goods might still be at risk if you settle for the lowest bidder on your freight forwarding requirements. Port City Logistics has built a reputation on consistent high security and keeping losses low. Contact us today for your shipping questions or a free quote.

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Topics: The Costs of Shipping, Supply Chain Efficiency