Cargo theft affects businesses across the globe and is recently becoming more of a major threat. Beyond the direct cost of the stolen goods, missing cargo can have far-reaching supply chain implications. Criminals are out to make a fast buck, so any products could be targeted. According to Freight Watch International, in the United States, many criminal groups take advantage of standard two-day and long holiday weekends, knowing that stationary cargo will be less-protected and giving them more time to transfer the goods to another trailer, eventually hiding it away or even selling it before law enforcement is notified. Travelers provides us with evaluation points and effective ways to deter the thefts.
A few points to consider when evaluating the theft potential for goods you are transporting:
- Understand how your cargo will travel—both type of conveyance and the actual route it will take.
- Develop routes in which cargo can avoid ‘known’ high-crime areas.
- If shipping in higher-crime areas is unavoidable, consider the timing of your shipments. Ask local law enforcement if it has any data showing when cargo crime is most active in these areas and try to structure your operations around these times.
- Consider equipping high-value loads with tracking equipment.
- Enforce a high standard within your operations. Require that trailer kingpins have suitable locks installed whenever they are loaded and not attached to a tractor; keep your facilities well-lighted with maintained fence lines; and pay special attention to loaded trailers, ensuring they are receiving the highest levels of protection possible at your sites.
It is important to have an understanding of “The Red Zone,” which is the first 200 miles from the pickup point. Requiring all loads to travel at least 200 miles before the first stop can be effective in deterring thieves who follow a loaded trailer from pick up and then attempt a hijacking when it makes its first stop. It also is good practice to avoid dropping a trailer at an unattended location. Shippers can incorporate these requirements, as well as others, within their freight contracts with carriers to increase their responsibility to pay should a loss occur.
As a shipper, we want you to understand where in the process of moving your goods that your responsibility and exposure begins. In most cases, shippers will rely upon contracted third parties. Some questions to consider:
- Are third-party logistics providers arranging carriers who implement the proper theft controls for the level of theft exposure at all points of the supply chain? It is a good practice to verify the identity of arranged carriers.
- Are enhanced measures to protect your cargo required/necessary and are the transportation service providers experienced and capable to coordinate these properly?
- Is it necessary to consider additional support beyond the logistics providers?
- Is external packaging visible during shipment as generic as possible to avoid telegraphing any valuable contents?
- Is the information contained within shipping documents such as commercial invoices, bills of lading and packing lists treated carefully? This information in the wrong hands may assist criminals in targeting your goods.
- Are Electronic Freight Security (EFS) strategies in use and regularly reviewed for improvement? EFS is a continually evolving, global, end-to-end strategy, leveraging the most current technology and intelligence on theft threats. It is important to stay up to date on current trends and techniques to stay ahead of criminals.
Your suppliers also may be vulnerable. Taking time to examine the suppliers’ cargo theft threats and protection strategies closely, can be important in protecting your business against cargo theft interruptions.
Check out the full Travelers article here. Contact us today 410-213-5600 to verify you have proper coverage!