Supply chain professionals are looking forward to a much-deserved extended weekend during the Fourth of July holiday. However, CargoNet, an industry cargo security firm, reports that extended business closures can create an advantageous operating environment for cargo thieves. For the past five years, the firm has analyzed cargo theft data in the United States and Canada from July 1 to July 7and found 130 cargo theft events in 27 different states, with theft most common in Texas, California, and Florida.
This year’s study found that a quarter of theft events occurred on the Friday of the holiday weekend, contrary to 2018 when most theft events were reported to have taken place on Thursday, July 4. Cargo thieves targeted shipments of food and beverage products, household goods, and mixed shipments of less than truckload (LTL) freight and general merchandise. The study estimates $5.9 million in cargo was stolen with an average value of $128,416 per theft.
Additionally, CargoNet's data shows that over the past five years, several sophisticated warehouse burglaries of desirable items like computers, cell phones, and fragrances occurred in Miami metro, Las Vegas metro, and northern New Jersey over the Fourth of July holiday. Operators should consider making sure facilities are alarmed and to treat every alarm activation as an actual break-in, as some burglary crews may purposely trip the alarm multiple times to make authorities and facility operators think the system is malfunctioning.
Steps Shippers Can Take to Protect Against Cargo Theft Over the Holiday
Thieves ramp up activity over long weekends knowing not only lots of cargo will sit idle for several days, but also the value of that cargo increases during the high-demand holiday season.
To combat the increased threat during the holiday shipping season, there are important steps to be taken by all parties in the supply chain.
* Be Aware of Hours of Operation. It is important for logistics and security professionals to confirm holiday hours of operation with shipping partners to mitigate any shipping delays. This will help to avoid unattended or parked freight
* Reach out to a Professional. Shippers should be picky with whom they decide to work. Hire only those carriers properly vetted by qualified 3pl's. Today's supply chain has very intricate operational and security elements not all carriers are suited for. At the very least you want video surveillance at shipper, consignee and in the truck. These are the things 3pl's provide. Reliable, professional and economic freight transportation.
* Move Out of Major Metropolitan Areas. If a trailer is loaded in a densely populated city, where cargo theft is more common, advise the driver not to stop until they are 150 miles away from the point of origin, if possible. Whether in a large city or not, drivers should also avoid leaving their truck unattended.
* Use Multiple Locks. By using a combination of well-made door padlocks and a king pin, carriers can add an extra layer of security to shipments they haul.
* Use Technology. Make sure trucks are always equipped with GPS-enabled tracking devices to directly pinpoint the shipment’s location . This will help to mitigate theft and help in recovery efforts.
* Develop Internal Security Procedures. Advise your team on what to look for, how to react quickly and safely, and who to contact should a cargo theft incident occur.
* Fuel Advance, Hostage Load, and Line Haul Scams also increase a few days before a holiday. Prior to issuing the fuel advance, call the shipper to confirm that the load was picked up. Do not accept incoming calls from a shipper trying to tell you the driver is there–it could be the scammers spoofing the phone number of the shipper.
We hope these tips will help you have a peaceful and enjoyable holiday weekend with a smaller than normal crowd of friends and family.
Stay Safe Everyone.
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