Cargo theft has been around as long has product has been transported. From pirates to road bandits, product en route from one place to another has always been at jeopardy for those who would take advantage. What can 3PLs do to protect their cargo?
First, we need to understand the problem. According to a recent article in Transport Topics, theft prevention and recovery network CargoNet reported 906 thefts last year valued at $100.5 million. It also reported that food and beverage thefts led the way, accounting for 29%, followed by electronics at 13% and household goods at 12%. That’s up 7% from 2014, when 844 thefts valued at about $90 million were reported.
Food and beverage theft have been growing year-over-year since about 2009. Industry experts attribute this rise to the ease of theft and tracking difficulty. For example, food and beverage products lack of serial numbers, have no RFID tags attached to them, nor do they have any hidden in the packaging, making this type of cargo very difficult to track. In this area, the rise of nut theft in California is especially alarming. According to CargoNet, 31 cargo thefts, valued at $4.6 million, were nuts. Most of these thefts were the result of falsified documents and/or fictitious pickups.
Truckers need to be especially wary in high-theft areas. CargoNet ranks the top five high-theft areas last year as follows: California with 161 reported incidents, Texas with 130, Georgia with 98, Florida with 97 incidents, and, finally, New Jersey with 95. However, the key term in that ranking is “reported incidents.” Cargo theft is a drastically under-reported crime so many other areas of the country may be suffering from expensive losses but are not seeing the same level of reporting.
Reputable 3PLs invest in GPS technology to track, and, if needed, locate any stolen trailers. Keller utilizes satellite tracking that allows management of the trailer pool from the home office for any trailer, anywhere in the country. By using a variety of remote asset tags and intelligent sensors, Keller can monitor and report the location and condition of trailers, using this level of safety and security to prevent trailer and cargo theft.
But, as the Transport Topics article points out, “common sense cannot be discounted as effective, either. Physical security, covert tracking, a thorough vetting process and training of drivers on best practices for keeping their cargo secure are tools that cargo recovery experts see useful in preventing theft.”
A layered approach to cargo theft that encompasses the above risk prevention can make a difference - saving companies, and their customers, huge amounts of time and money.
For more information on the larger impact of cargo theft, review the infographic in this article.
If you want to learn how Keller Logistics can help keep your cargo safe, contact us!