Cargo theft and hijacking is on the rise in the United States, according to Freight Watch International. The total cost to the US economy has been estimated at approximately $300 billion, which includes the value of the stolen goods, resupply costs, opportunity costs, as well as insurance and law enforcement costs. The true costs of goods shipped are often undervalued as it is a critical part of more costly items or operations.
Organizations often have practices that invite unscrupulous predators to take advantage of them, including:
- Dropping trailers at truck stops and unprotected/unsecured lots for any period of time.
- Not properly vetting logistics providers before agreeing to service and/or checking drivers at the dock to ensure that they are legitimate employees of the transportation provider.
- Allowing new or temporary employees who have not gone through a background check to handle shipping paperwork or giving them information about upcoming shipments.
- Not accounting for all items to be shipped.
- Allowing unsealed trailers to leave the shipping area.
To reduce the risk of cargo theft we recommend the following:
- Conduct a thorough assessment of all shipping processes to identify substandard practices.
- Become educated and stay up-to-date on industry best practices. Benchmark and compare to your company operations.
- Thoroughly check employees and vendors associated with any logistics activities prior to allowing them into the supply chain. Conduct random or regular checks to ensure that these individuals have not "fallen under the radar" post-hire.
- Account for all products leaving the facility.
- Seal all truckloads and document the seal numbers on the bills of lading. Whenever possible, anti-theft seals or locks should be utilized.
- When shipping less than a full load, shipments must be secured in a fashion that keeps them intact. This can include plastic wrap, banding, or larger containers such as totes or boxes.
- Do not communicate information about any shipments to anyone who does not need to know.
- Do not permit loads to be left unsecured. Loaded trailers must be kept in secure facilities and unattended vehicles should never be left unlocked.