Winter holiday season means increasing risk of cargo theft

December 23, 2021

Land Line Staff


Extended business closures brought about by both the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays mean more opportunities for cargo thefts.

That’s the warning to the trucking industry from CargoNet, a supply chain security and intelligence firm. The company put out a news release ahead of Christmas, highlighting theft trends and threats which could affect freight movements during the holiday season.

In a review of data from a 10-day period spanning Dec. 23 to Jan. 2 over the past five years, CargoNet reports a total of 185 theft events. That averages out to 37 events per holiday period with an average theft value of $151,199.

Cargo thieves most commonly targeted shipments of computer electronics, televisions, major appliances, and all kinds of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Noteworthy thefts from previous winter holidays include the theft of $3 million in networking equipment from Dinuba, Calif., and more than $507,000 in stolen tequila from Tampa, Fla.

“Going into this holiday season, we are most concerned about continued theft activity involving shipments of computer electronics, printer ink, designer apparel, beauty products, tires, and major appliances throughout the Southeastern and Midwestern United States,” CargoNet stated in a news release.

The most common reported theft locations were parking lots, truck stops and secured yards. The top three targeted states have been Texas, California and Florida.

The company suggests industry stakeholders can step up security by arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments, embedding covert tracking devices, and using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries. Drivers should not leave their vehicles or shipments unattended, especially within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them.

Other cargo theft prevention tips from CargoNet:

  • 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 kingpin 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 and with a full tank of fuel.
  • Avoid having loaded trailers sit unattended when employees are not present. LL