Cargo theft is an unfortunate by-product of the holiday season that often gets overlooked during the hustle and bustle of rushed shipments and tight delivery schedules. That is until a trailer disappears, or pallets go missing off the company’s loading dock. With employees taking extra vacation days around Christmas and New Year’s, freight is often unattended or stored in places where prolonged absences provide a greater opportunity for theft.
A 2019 CargoNet trends report calculated that in the last five years, over the Thanksgiving holidays alone, (which includes the Tuesday before Thanksgiving up until the Monday after), the industry endured a total loss of $5,541,394 from freight theft.
The most commonly hit states, in order of frequency, are California, Texas, and Florida, with favored locations being either warehouses or distribution centers.
Most people would assume that electronics such as computers and cell phones, pharmaceuticals, and cigarettes would be highly targeted by bandits, but surprisingly, the prize goes to food and beverage cargo as the most popular stolen commodity type. (Hey, I’ve got a truckload of Twinkies! Got a heck of a good deal for you?)
All kidding aside, these losses can have devastating effects on shippers, especially startups and private label companies who are just getting established.
Christmas and New Year’s is just around the corner. Now is the time to make sure all employees are on guard and exercising situational awareness surrounding their freight.
By putting a few simple preventative measures into place, some of these losses could be avoided. Here are a couple of preemptive security tips to keep your freight safe.
- Use a 3PL that provides total visibility with GPS carrier tracking (See Trucker Tools’ Case Study on Choptank Transport carrier tracking)
- Be alert to the possibility of thieves posing as carriers calling for fictitious pickups
- Be suspicious of unusually cheap freight. It may be a setup
- Have a procedure that verifies calls for legitimate fuel advances versus scams
- Never leave loaded trailers unattended in unsecured areas
- Check barrier seals and padlocks on trailers often
- Ask law enforcement to make periodic and random checks of facilities you frequent during the holiday season
- Document and report any suspicious activity you witness in or around any delivery or pick up locations
So enjoy your vacation time knowing you've done your part in keeping your company's freight safe and on track for the holidays. All of us at Choptank Transport wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!