Learn about cargo theft and how your can protect your shipments from it.

What is Cargo Theft and How Can You Protect Your Shipments?

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Logistics / Shipping, Supply Chain Security

Learn about cargo theft and how your can protect your shipments from it.

Cargo theft is a large financial danger to your imports. In 2018 the average value of stolen goods per incident was $142,342 and there were around 600 incidents in the U.S. and Canada. This threat to your shipment is always present, but it can be managed using good tactics.

How is Cargo Stolen in Transit?

Before we look at how to protect your shipment from theft, let’s look at some of the ways that cargo is stolen. As cargo transporters have adopted better tactics to protect their cargo, thieves have adopted better ways of stealing it.

  • Straight Cargo Theft: This form of theft is when cargo is stolen right from where it sits. This commonly happens at truck stops, parking lots, or other areas where goods can be stolen quickly.
  • Strategic Cargo Theft: This form of theft uses deceptive means to steal goods. The tactics used in strategic cargo theft are always evolving with technology and procedures. Identity theft, fictitious pickups, double brokering scams, and fraudulent carriers are all methods used to deceive.
  • Technology: In recent years, cargo thieves have used “sniffers” and “jammers”, tools used to locate and jam a GPS tracker signal from law enforcement.
  • Cyber Attacks: Some cargo thieves are using computer hacking technology such as phishing emails and Trojan horse malware to get into shipping companies sensitive information. This could allow access to valuable delivery information.
  • Pilferage: This type of theft has become more popular in recent years. Pilferage is when thieves raid shipment while the vehicle is parked. Unless drivers examine shipments at each stop, they will never realize goods are gone until their final destination.

Most likely thieves will use a combination of these tactics when going after a shipment.

How Can You Protect Your Shipment

Now that we know more about how cargo is stolen, let’s take a look at the best practices used by professional cargo transporters to protect shipments while they are in transit.

  • Use a multi layered security system
  • Install a GPS tracker in the vehicle
  • Companies should require drivers to completely inspect truck and trailer at each and every stop made.
  • Invest in cyber security to protect important shipment information
  • Work closely with shippers and confirm identities of all employees
  • Do not stop at unsecured areas
  • Never leave loaded vehicle on the roadside
  • When parking loaded vehicle, park up against a fence or wall
  • Do not leave trailer unattended, especially in high cargo theft areas
  • Use high security doors and locks
  • Look into brake and transmission locks along with other vehicle immobilizers
  • Arrive for pickups with a full tank of gas and do not stop for the first 250 miles
  • Don’t talk about your cargo or where it is going
  • Never leave keys in vehicle
  • Report thefts to law enforcement immediately

Cargo Theft Trends From 2012-2018

Illustrated below is a graphic showing cargo theft trends from 2012-2018 in four year increments.

Click the image for a downloadable PDF

Illustrated below is a graphic showing cargo theft trends from 2012-2018 in four year increments.

Your shipments are important to the success of your business. Because of this it is important to take all the necessary precautions when transporting them.

Of course there is no way to ensure your shipment stays safe in transit, for full protection TRG provides All Risk Insurance which covers against cargo theft.

Download a complete guide on Marine Cargo Insurance from Trade Risk Guaranty.

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