Cargo theft is the theft of goods or property from commercial shippers or freight
carriers. Its a serious problem in the USA, costing shippers and trucking companies an
estimated $30 billion annually, with an average of 6Theft Report 2018, the
most commonly stolen commodity is food and beverage (Supply Chain Quarterly, 2019).
Furth shipment (Supply Chain Quarterly,
2019). This paper describes and analyzes threats to cargo and ongoing plus proposed
solutions for food trucking companies in the U.S. To be included are benchmark practices
from other countries too.
Cargo Threats to Food Trucking Companies
A companys own employees are common threats to cargo security. In particular we
would wish to emphasize The Insider Threat,” TT Club Claims Executive Mike Yarwood
said in a release. “As security measures become more sophisticated and widespread in
practice, criminal organizations are increasingly recruiting employees of targeted companies
to gain data, cargo information, delivery routes, and destinations and access to IT systems.
Due diligence in recruiting and managing staff is paramount. In general, full or part-time
salaried staff are less of a security risk than sub-contractors.”
Another report indicates that thieves also seize opportunities as they arrive, indicating
lack of security across the delivery chain as offering windows of risks to food trucking
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companies. “Cargo thieves are opportunists, and these statistics indicate where, when and
how they are likely to strike and the type of goods they are likely to target,” notes Barry
Tarnef, a marine loss control specialist for Chubb Marine Underwriters.
Cost of Cargo Theft Loss
The research found that road transport was consistently the most common modality
involved in theft (ahead of buildings and trains), but there were significant differences in the
median value of the cargo affected. This ranged from just under $19,000 in Asia to around
$60,000 in both Europe and North America, and to a high of $77,000 in South America.
Modes of Cargo Theft
There was also wide variation in the methods used in various regions. As a global
average, the most common approach was “slash and grab” at 26 percent of cases, with “theft
from vehicle” at 19 percent and “hijacking” at 17 percent. But in North and South America,
hijacking was the most common method at 37 percent and 52 percent respectively. In
contrast, theft in Asia most often involved “theft from a facility” at 43 percent, followed
distantly by hijacking at 19 percent.
Another report explains the different thefts. Truck stops and highway rest areas are
the most targeted locations for cargo thefts, Chubb’s research indicates, as these places
account for more than one-third (39%) of all incidents, followed by modal yards (managed by
trucking companies, railroads or ocean carriers) at 27% of all thefts, and unsecured locations
(drop lots, motel, restaurant and mall parking lots), which account for 25%. Other cargo
thefts and disappearances include warehouse burglaries (6%) and hijackings (3%).
In its 2013 Annual U.S. Cargo Theft Report, CargoNet reported on a number of
notable trends, including the following:
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$99 million in cargo theft losses in about 1,100 separate cases were reported.
Nearly 80% of cargo thefts occurred in just eight states California, Texas, Georgia,
Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan and Tennessee. According to one NBC network
affiliate in California, cargo theft happens twice as often in that state than anywhere else, to
the tune of $390 million in 2011 and 2012 alone. Cargo theft incidents within Georgia
Best Practices to Combat Cargo Theft
According to Tarnef, businesses can take the following seven actions to help prevent
1) Thoroughly screen prospective employees. Some cargo security experts maintain that a
high percentage of cargo thefts involve inside information or complicity.
2) Carefully select transportation partners and intermediaries. Remember that these
companies have care, custody and control of goods once they leave your premises until
they reach their destination.
3) Establish a security culture within your company. Provide security training for
employees, and educate truck drivers in hijack awareness and prevention.
4) Factor in security when determining shipment routing. Cargo thieves often “case”
known shipping points (plants, warehouses and distribution centers) and follow trucks as
they depart, waiting for the drivers to stop so that they can pounce on the loads. Drivers
should not be allowed to stop in the “red zone” (the first 200 miles/4 hours from their
starting point) as well as known hot spots.
5) Incorporate counter surveillance into the duties of security guards, and have guards
patrol away from perimeters.
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6) Take advantage of technology. Vehicle and shipment tracking, vehicle immobilization
and advanced, high-technology security seals are now available at lower cost. Here is an
example of RFID technology in use.
Denmarks Evotec chose Idesco RFID readers to complete their cargo securing system
they had designed for transport companies vehicles. Evotecs system does more than
merely preventing cargo theft. Drivers also feel more secure when delivering because
hijack risks are also reduced. This is because cargo is robustly secured when drivers leave
Danish cargo companies had been struggling with regular delivery cargo thefts. Drivers
did not feel secure when delivering and financial losses were growing. Evotec decided to
develop a novel vehicle security solution for cargo companies. As part of their solution,
Evotec selected Idesco 8 CD 2.0 DESFire readers for deployment on delivery vehicles.
Idesco readers have since been installed on several hundred Danish cargo trucks and
Bo Sch?nning, Evotec Aps CEO, described the subsequent cooperation of Idesco with his
company, We got great assistance in choosing the correct solution for our system. In
addition to coded readers, Evotec ApS also subscribed to Idescos convenient Security
Key Management Service for ensure compatibility with every vehicles readers. Since
DESFire demands readers and transponders be encoded with matching security keys,
Idescos Security Key Management service saved Evotec extensive time and resources,
freeing them to focus exclusively on installations for their customers vehicles without
worrying about managing DESFire keys themselves. We feel safe when Idesco handles
this data for our customers, says Sch?nning.
The cargo drivers of Evotecs customers are assigned vehicle specific transponders to
carry, which open the cargo space when presented to the reader guarding it. For
increased security, the driver cabin locks automatically when the cargo space unlocks.
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Additionally, cargo doors automatically lock when they close and will remain locked
when the vehicles engine is running. The system works equally well in vehicles equipped
with liftgates. Opening the vehicles driver cabin with the ignition key doesnt affect its
cargo space: it remains continuously locked. If needed, a vehicles cargo space could be
opened remotely via fleet management software. If a transponder is stolen, a vehicles
readers can be reprogrammed to not recognize the transponders.
Vehicles are also equipped with GPS transmitters that update fleet software with vehicle
locations and routes. The fleet softwares online tracking and route reporting also
provides cargo companies a powerful fuel control ability that can reduce fleet costs.
One more example is a logistics company which mployed a host of innovative solutions
like sophisticated on-board geofencing systems that divert drivers from known high-
risk areas, and moving high-value loads using driver teams, which creates velocity in the
supply chain and ensures freight is continually moving and far less susceptible to theft.
Were guided by the rule, freight at rest is freight at risk, Walt Fountain, CPP, CCSP,
Director of Safety and Enterprise Security, tells My Purchasing Center. Fountain came to
the trucking concern in 2006 after serving in the U.S. Army intelligence service for more
than two decades.
7) Conduct periodic security audits. Operations and personnel change, and criminals are