trailersparked1.jpg Photo: American Trucker

Cargo thieves have unpatriotic July 4 plans

Experts advise against freight 'independence' over holiday weekend

This coming July 4th weekend is prime time for cargo theft. According to data from Travelers Insurance, on holiday weekends, cargo theft jumps as much as 40%, as holiday weekends give thieves time to target trailers full of shipments left unattended for days.

Travelers and FreightWatch International are offering some tips to help shippers and carriers keep their cargo secure this holiday weekend.

FreightWatch International Supply Chain Intelligence Center valued the average loss on July 4th weekend last year at $1.1M — six times higher than average for the year. For reference, the FBI estimates cargo theft costs U.S. businesses up to $30 billion per year, Travelers reports.

“Holiday weekends are of notoriously high risk for manufacturers and logistics-related organizations,” according to FreightWatch. “Organized cargo theft rings will be extremely active in the coming days, as more shipments are left unattended for extended periods of time due to the long holiday weekend. This year July 4th falls on a Monday, extending the weekend and resulting in longer stage times and lower security staffing.”

Experts agree that the ideal solution is to not leave unattended cargo, but what if that’s unavoidable?

Scott Cornell, the transportation crime and theft specialist at Travelers, has several recommendations for shippers to protect cargo. He recommends shippers:

* Use all available security equipment to secure trailers while they are being staged. King Pin Locks and landing gear locks are recommended, with high-security locks on the cargo doors. The tractor and trailer should remain locked and connected the entire weekend.

* Stage loads at secure company yards whenever possible. According to FreightWatch, 86% of reported cargo thefts occur in unsecured parking areas.

* Install covert tracking systems on all shipments and monitor the location of all loads left staged over the weekend.

FreightWatch recommends that logistics and security professionals ensure that security protocols are up-to-date and in line with industry best practices for both in-transit and warehouse operations, as both will be heavily targeted over the holiday weekend.

“Also, in order to mitigate criminal attempts to exploit cargo at rest, we suggest confirming that a given receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday weekend are consistent with scheduled delivery times,” FreightWatch said. “Covert GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments are highly recommended, as they have proven to be the most effective protocols to both mitigate in-transit theft and facilitate successful recovery of stolen product.”

Notable thefts over Fourth of July 2013-2015 include:

  • 2013, California, Fictitious Pickup of Produce (no value reported)
  • 2013, New Jersey, Pilferage of Cigarettes and Televisions, $257,000
  • 2014, Florida, Facility Theft of Cell Phones, $451,000
  • 2014, Texas, Full Truckload of Meat, $200,000
  • 2015, Oklahoma, Fictitious Pickup of Cash-in-Transit (no value reported)
  • 2015, Nevada, Facility Theft of Computers, $250,000
  • 2015, California, Facility Theft of Hard Drives, $381,000
  • 2015, Nevada, Facility Theft of Electronics (no value reported)
  • 2015, Washington, Full Truckload of Cell Phones, $5,700,000

Regarding the recent nut cargo theft occurring in the tree nut industry, Verisk’s CargoNet Business and the Western Agricultural Processors Association have aligned to raise awareness and increase communication between the nut industry and law enforcement.

That collaboration began as a response to increasing tree nut cargo thefts in California, with the new initiative aims to assist in the collection, aggregation, and analytics of cargo theft data to aid law enforcement in recoveries and better identify trends, the firm said.

Those collective efforts will also assist the state legislature in understanding how cargo theft damages California commerce, CargoNet noted, as by providing cargo theft statistics and trend information, both organizations said they hope that the state of California will recognize the need for additional resources, including a cargo theft crime task force.

"Our new strategic alliance with CargoNet will allow us to further our efforts to provide our members with the latest information possible on cargo theft of tree nuts," said WAPA President and CEO Roger Isom. "Together, we will ensure our members have the latest information possible to help protect their investments."

TAGS: News
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