Mitigating Danger within the Rising Battle Towards Cargo Theft

This put up is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Cargo theft stays a outstanding risk to the transportation trade. In a single high-profile case in 2022, three Florida males stole roughly $9 million price 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, experiences 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 autos, electronics and prescribed drugs are also often 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 amenities 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 susceptible and have tipped off an outsider on these particulars to be able 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 masses

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 items and trailers. Moveable monitoring gadgets can assist find a stolen automobile or lacking trailer. Nevertheless, 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, might use these, that are extra dependable than their GPS cousins as a result of they use cellular phone expertise. They’re additionally extra expensive. 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 not less than one tracker will seemingly be taken in a batch of stolen product.
  3. Put skilled drivers in your higher-value masses. Use trusted drivers, those that have hauled quite a lot of masses together with excessive worth masses, and those that perceive the procedures taken to maintain their cargo, gear and most significantly, themselves away from hurt. Work as a staff with the motive force previous to loading, reminding them of the additional procedures that must be taken on a lot of these masses.
  4. Plan your routes. Remind drivers to keep away from pink zones and excessive crime-rate areas, significantly when stopping or parking. Drivers ought to have a minimal of 200 miles price of gas and sufficient hours of service to journey that distance earlier than selecting up a load. This can assist to scale back stops and thieves might develop into disenchanted with the cargo because it will get previous their goal zone.
  5. Practice your drivers. Guarantee drivers know that vans and trailers must be locked and sealed, and that they need to establish protected, well-lit parking areas earlier than leaving the automobile. Extra measures embody positioning the trailer to a construction to forestall the doorways from being opened. Look ahead to autos following the truck and don’t talk about the cargo with others both — on the telephone or over the CB radio.
  6. Make use of good hiring practices and leverage background checks. Good hiring practices ought to prolong to dispatchers, masses planners, warehouse and dock staff, not simply drivers. Observe that warehouse staff don’t must know the routes drivers take to succeed in 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 masses. Modify your protection as enterprise scales up or winds down, or your product combine adjustments.

Solely a small share of cargo thieves are caught and prosecuted. And solely a small share of stolen cargo is ever recovered. Many legislation enforcement groups would not have the manpower to commit to a lot of these circumstances over higher-profile crimes. Taking steps to make masses much less enticing and harder to steal, can assist to scale back cargo theft.

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


Have a query on how you can mitigate danger? E 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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