It only takes thieves seconds to steal a tractor trailer, accounting for over $15 billion in cargo theft each year in the United States and leading to product recalls/health alerts, hits to your company’s brand, financial losses as well as lawsuits and more. While we have seen patterns in cargo theft over the years, a company never knows when it is going to hit so it’s best to take precautions at all times.
Cargo theft is nothing new to supply chain professionals as thieves continue to utilize new and adaptive ways to steal freight. According to National Retail Federation’s 14th annual organized retail crime (ORC) study, 92% of retailers that were surveyed acknowledged having an ORC within the last year (29% stating that they occurred during the supply chain process) and 71% found the problem to be increasing.(1) According to retailers, the digital environment is making it easier and easier for thieves sell stolen goods and that harsher penalties need to be enforced for cargo theft, with 73% of surveyors believing that there should be a federal ORC law in place.(1)
The shortage of truck drivers in North America isn't a new topic. There is a wrinkle in it that isn't as widely covered but that is crucial to the success of the United States' economy: hazmat drivers. Though they are naturally lumped in together with the general driver shortage in terms of numbers, a driver with a hazmat certification is often even more difficult to find.
The good news is that incidents of cargo theft are going down. The bad news is that the trucking industry can't afford to let its guard down. With the holiday season in full swing, it's a prime time for criminals to get bold about targeting trucks with prized cargo that can be easily sold or distributed quickly and discreetly.
While the third quarter experienced an 18% decrease in stolen goods when compared to the same period last year, cargo theft remains a large problem that costs the industry nearly $30 billion a year according to the FBI. With the upcoming holiday season, we are quickly approaching some of the busiest retail days of the year, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which means an increase in shipping and a greater chance of thieves making out with truckloads of merchandise. In fact, cargo theft incidents in the third quarter rose 24% compared to 2Q 2017, with the 4th quarter being considered the peak season for thieves with theft rising as much as 40% on holiday weekends. (1, 2)
Teletrac Navman recently released results from a survey they conducted in March 2017 which contained input from over 1,200 fleet operations/management professionals across the globe. Pulling out 118 responses from individuals based in the U.S. that primarily operated in the transportation industry, the company was able to compose the 2017 Benchmark Survey: U.S. Transportation Edition. Results from the survey were as follows:
CargoNet recently released its 2016 cargo theft report. Its results for the United States and Canada were as follows: (The below information is provided by https://www.ajot.com/news/cargonets-2016-cargo-theft-trend-analysis)
Earlier this month, thieves stole a chassis container trailer of footwear from a warehouse yard in Torrance, CA. Without releasing the location of the theft or brand of products, authorities noted that the shoes, which consisted of both men’s and women’s sneakers, had a retail value of over $100 per pair, placing the load of 10,728 pairs at over $1 million.
CargoNet recently released its quarterly cargo theft report for the U.S. and Canada. Here were their findings:
*Cargo theft was down in 2017’s 2nd quarter, decreasing from 358 supply chain risk incidents (these include theft of vehicles and cargo as well as fraud) in 1Q 2017 to 296 in 2Q, a 53% drop when compared to the same quarter 2016.
*Out of the 296 incidents:
-Nearly 50% were cargo theft1
-58% involved vehicle theft (110 tractors and 109 trailers) 1, 2
-9% involved fraud1
*The value of theft decreased from $28.7 million in 1Q to $17.2 million. Compared to last year, cargo theft is down $35.1 million in value.2
*The average loss per incident was $202,774, which was higher than 1Q ($149,522).2
It comes as no surprise that food and beverage was the most stolen commodity and once again, household goods came in second.
*The location in which the thefts occurred switched positions quarter-over-quarter with warehouses taking the number one spot followed by unsecured yards.2
*While theft in California decreased 53% since 2016, it remained the top state for cargo theft followed by Texas.2
Learn more about “Cargo Theft Hot Spots, Where Cargo and Freight Theft Occurs, and Cargo Theft Prevention Tips” in the video to the right.
Reduce Your Risk
Cargo theft will always be a threat to the supply chain industry but there are ways to help reduce your risk by choosing a secure carrier who is well versed in cargo theft prevention.
Road Scholar Transport’s self-created “Pentagon Distribution Model” provides 100% accountability and secure transport by focusing on technology, visibility, protocols, equipment, and audit trails. Here are some of the ways we are protecting your high risk freight:
*Locks: TS4A-Instantly locks all air breaks, preventing unauthorized movements
Navalock-U.S. Customs approved
Babco lock-Learn more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv0oUYvL2iI
*Weekend Delivery: It is statistically proven that cargo at rest is cargo at risk with the greatest number of cargo thefts occurring on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Road Scholar Transport, however, offers weekend delivery service for our customers, getting their products delivered quickly and reducing the risk of theft.
*Asset-tracking: Both on the tractor and trailer along with aerial and satellite tracking (down to street level).
*Vivid colors: Our brightly colored awareness trucks make it harder for anyone to steal our trucks.
*Security gate trailers: Internal security gates allow us the ability to separate your cargo from other freight, preventing damage concerns by securely locking your freight within a portion of our trailer. See how it works at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31_ZYxmMc6Y
*Drivers: Uniformed drivers who undergo toughest driver background checks in the business, constantly trained on the latest cargo transport threats.
*Geofencing: Route or facility specific
*Facility Security: Around the clock dispatch and operations center. All facilities are physically fenced and have 24 x 7 x 365 video surveillance.
*Expedited Service: 24-hour expedited service throughout our core service areas.
*Electronic door monitoring
This is part of why we never suffered a full cargo theft in our company’s history!
Last week, police arrested 31-year-old truck driver John Manuel for stealing close to $200,000 worth of electronics destined for Walmart. Upon delivering to the Louisiana store, Walmart employees noted 90 televisions and sound bars to be missing from load. Authorities discovered that Manuel was stealing the merchandise and selling them on Craigslist. He is currently being held without bail.1
Since 1988, Road Scholar Transport has been solving risk-adverse, investment grade customer’s transportation needs throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. To us, each of our customers’ freight is as fragile as a carton of eggs, easily damaged if not receiving the care and custody it deserves during transport, which is why we maintain a damage claim record of 0.0004%, one of the lowest in the industry.
In a technology-based world where people look for speed and convenience in doing everyday tasks, the shipping industry isn’t any different, as more and more shippers rely on brokers to schedule the transportation of their freight, brokers posting these loads online for bidding, and trucking companies replying with their rates on load boards. But is this process leading to a greater number of fictitious pickups? Cargo theft experts say yes.
Last year, CargoNet recorded 10 theft incidents worth at least $1 million each, with cargo theft reaching over $175 million for the year. 1While some methods of cargo theft remain the same year after year, thieves are continuously finding new means to steal freight. Below are just a few tactics the industry is currently seeing thieves utilize to seize cargo in the U.S. this year.