Mitigating Danger within the Rising Battle In opposition to Cargo Theft

This publish is a part of a collection sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Cargo theft stays a distinguished risk to the transportation business. In a single high-profile case in 2022, three Florida males stole roughly $9 million value of beef and pork from refrigerated vans that had left meatpacking crops within the Midwest and Nice Plains over the course of a yr.

Within the second half of 2022, studies of cargo theft and fraud rose 27% year-over-year.[1] Parking tons and truck stops are the most typical location for cargo theft incidents however secured yards are usually not immune from cargo theft.1 Though family items and meals merchandise stay frequent targets, higher-value items, equivalent to automobiles, electronics and prescription drugs are also ceaselessly focused.[2]

The 4 commonest cargo theft eventualities embody:

  • Pink zones: Areas with ports and main interstate junctions proceed to be hotspots for criminals, together with California, Texas, Georgia, Florida and Illinois.1
  • Hijacking: Criminals are getting bolder, taking alternatives to steal cargo and even hijacking gear at truck stops, relaxation areas and gas islands when drivers are refueling, utilizing the services and whereas taking an hours of service (HOS) break.
  • Inside jobs: An worker with detailed data of the cargo together with the origin and vacation spot factors is aware of when and the place a high-value cargo could also be weak and have tipped off an outsider on these particulars with a purpose to facilitate a theft.
  • Organized crime: Organized teams of criminals have refined programs in place to perform cargo heists, as demonstrated within the beef and pork heists talked about above.

7 finest practices to guard your hundreds

As cargo theft continues to develop and evolve, corporations can implement defensive measures to mitigate losses, together with the next:

  1. Use GPS monitoring for energy models and trailers. Transportable monitoring units will help find a stolen car or lacking trailer. Nonetheless, this isn’t an all-encompassing resolution, as they are often disabled in numerous methods or the sign may be blocked
  2. Implement cargo monitoring. Devoted cargo trackers may be included with load contents, providing an opportunity to trace stolen merchandise wherever they go. Shipments of high-value attire or pharmaceutical gadgets, for instance, could use these, that are extra dependable than their GPS cousins as a result of they use cellular phone know-how. They’re additionally extra pricey. Prices may be minimized by including trackers to a choose variety of merchandise (not all of them), as criminals usually steal in batches. Use sufficient trackers in merchandise that a minimum of one tracker will possible be taken in a batch of stolen product.
  3. Put skilled drivers in your higher-value hundreds. Use trusted drivers, those that have hauled a wide range of hundreds together with excessive worth hundreds, and those that perceive the procedures taken to maintain their cargo, gear and most significantly, themselves away from hurt. Work as a workforce with the motive force previous to loading, reminding them of the additional procedures that needs to be taken on a majority of these hundreds.
  4. Plan your routes. Remind drivers to keep away from pink zones and excessive crime-rate areas, notably when stopping or parking. Drivers ought to have a minimal of 200 miles value of gas and sufficient hours of service to journey that distance earlier than selecting up a load. This will help to scale back stops and thieves could change into disenchanted with the cargo because it will get previous their goal zone.
  5. Prepare your drivers. Guarantee drivers know that vans and trailers needs to be locked and sealed, and that they need to establish protected, well-lit parking areas earlier than leaving the car. Further measures embody positioning the trailer to a construction to stop the doorways from being opened. Look ahead to automobiles following the truck and don’t focus on the cargo with others both — on the cellphone or over the CB radio.
  6. Make use of good hiring practices and leverage background checks. Good hiring practices ought to prolong to dispatchers, hundreds planners, warehouse and dock employees, not simply drivers. Word that warehouse employees don’t must know the routes drivers take to achieve their vacation spot, which may additional defend a load from potential theft.
  7. Buy satisfactory cargo protection. Firms ought to decide if they’ve the right quantity of cargo insurance coverage, particularly as the price of items rise. Work together with your insurance coverage agent to treatment gaps, and think about using a cargo rider for particular, high-value hundreds. Alter your protection as enterprise scales up or winds down, or your product combine modifications.

Solely a small proportion of cargo thieves are caught and prosecuted. And solely a small proportion of stolen cargo is ever recovered. Many legislation enforcement groups should not have the manpower to commit to a majority of these instances over higher-profile crimes. Taking steps to make hundreds much less enticing and harder to steal, will help to scale back cargo theft.

For extra info on defending towards the specter of cargo theft, contact IAT.


Have a query on methods to mitigate threat? Electronic mail [email protected] for an opportunity to see your query answered in a future weblog.

[1] Verisk “Winter Holiday Cargo Theft Trends and Security Best Practices 2022,” December 16, 2022.

[2] Enterprise Insurance coverage “Cargo losses escalate as thieves target cars, electronics,” Might 31, 2022.


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