Carriers on ‘high alert’ when it comes to cargo theft over the holiday weekend

May 21, 2024

Ryan Witkowski


With a continued surge in cargo theft, one industry insider is telling carriers to be on “high alert” with their loads over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

According to recent data from CargoNet, which analyzed theft patterns from 2019 to 2023 for the Thursday prior to Memorial Day to the Wednesday after, an average of 29 incidents per year were reported over the seven-day stretch.

The Jersey City, N.J.-based data- and information-sharing company said the average loss per theft was valued at $264,016, with that number being driven up in large part due to three thefts that exceeded $1 million in stolen cargo.

According to CargoNet, around 17% of the recorded thefts over that time occurred on the Friday before the holiday. The Tuesday and Wednesday after the holiday also saw a significant portion of the overall total, with 15% of thefts being reported on each day. This could be partly due to shippers and receivers returning from the long weekend to discover the theft.

“Given these trends, it is crucial for supply chain stakeholders to enhance security measures, particularly in the identified high-risk states and locations, and for the most targeted commodity categories,” the company said. “Increased vigilance during the Memorial Day weekend can help mitigate the risk of theft and ensure the smooth functioning of the supply chain.”

The analysis showed that food and beverage items were among the most stolen commodities over the holiday weekend, accounting for 24 of the reported incidents. Household items (23 incidents) and electronics (18 reported incidents) rounded out the top three.

As far as where theft was most prevalent, California was the most at-risk state with 43 reported incidents, nearly doubling Texas, which came in second with 22 reported incidents.

Of course, cargo theft isn’t isolated to holiday weekends. Earlier this month, CargoNet released its 2024 First Quarter Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis with the company recently saying theft activity had reached “new heights” in the first three months of the year.

“CargoNet documented a staggering 925 incidents, marking a substantial 46% increase compared to the first quarter of 2023 and a concerning 10% rise from the fourth quarter of 2023,” the company said in a statement.

That report came just months after the company released the findings of its 2023 Yearly Incident Analysis, which showed reported theft incidents had increased nearly 60% from the previous year.

With the issue of cargo theft becoming so prevalent in the United States, this past May several lawmakers called for the creation of a permanent task force to address supply-chain thefts. LL