Insider warns about cargo theft over holiday weekend

July 2, 2024

Ryan Witkowski


Holiday weekends mean a higher susceptibility for cargo theft, and the Fourth of July holiday is no exception.

On Monday, July 1, CargoNet – a New Jersey-based data- and information-sharing company – issued an “urgent advisory” to the transportation industry, warning of an increased risk for cargo-theft activity during the holiday weekend.

“Cargo thieves are well aware that extended holiday closures work to their advantage,” Keith Lewis, CargoNet’s vice president of operations, said in a statement. “With theft activity already surpassing 2023’s record highs, we urge the industry to remain vigilant throughout the holiday weekend.”

The company analyzed thefts that occurred over the past five years between July 1 and July 7. During that timeframe, there were 174 reported thefts, with an average loss valued around $90,000. CargoNet’s analysis of that data yielded a number of key trends.

First, July 1 and July 2 “consistently” had the highest rates of theft for the holiday weekend. According to the company, this can largely be attributed to “loaded conveyances left unattended” ahead of the Fourth.

Additionally, CargoNet said non-alcoholic beverages (especially energy drinks), major appliances and computer electronics were the top commodities stolen over the holiday weekend. The company added that direct cargo and conveyance theft tends to be more common than “complex fraud schemes” when it comes to cargo stolen over this particular timeframe.

As far as where these thefts have been taking place: The data shows California, Texas and Florida were the three states most commonly targeted by cargo thieves, accounting for more than 43% of the reported thefts over the holiday.

The company added that while 2023 saw “record-high” rates of cargo theft, its forecast suggests those numbers could be surpassed by 2024’s totals.

CargoNet offers the following tips to carriers to avoid becoming a victim of theft:

  • Make sure that both security managers and drivers have accurate license plate, VIN and descriptive information for tractors, trailers, containers and container chassis. Police agencies will need this information to open an investigation in the event of an incident. Drivers should keep this information on them so they can quickly reference it if their truck is stolen.
  • Secure all trailers (loaded and unloaded) with high-security ISO 17712-compliant barrier seals in combination with hardened padlocks. Use king pin locks for unattached trailers.
  • Secure all tractors with high-security locking devices, such as air-cuff and steering column locks.
  • Remind drivers to arrive at the point of pickup well-rested, showered and fed, with a full tank of fuel.
  • Avoid having loaded trailers sit unattended when employees are not present.


CargoNet has noted the rise in cargo theft over the past year, with the company saying incidents reached “new heights” in the first quarter of 2024. LL