Patterns of Cargo Theft


3PL Perspectives recently published an article by Jaki Ferenz regarding some of the most prevalent patterns of cargo theft in current times.  Read on for a summary of what to look out for while protecting your freight from cargo thieves:

As the rate of shipping increases across North America, so does the amount of transportation required to move the cargo.  More online shopping means more movement of product by carriers across the nation. This increase in cargo on the road creates more opportunity for cargo theft to occur.  More cargo theft, more cargo claims filed.

Although this may sound alarming, it is also important to note that cargo theft has been relatively low recently. Here are some thing to look out for in order to keep the cargo theft rate low, and protect your products:

Double Brokering:  Illegal under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, this is one of the ways there may be an opportunity for cargo theft.   This can occur when the original motor carrier hired by the broker decides to “double broker” the shipment to another carrier(group)--sometimes even to cargo thieves.  In this case, the cargo thieves would go and sell that shipment of cargo for quick money, and then would share the profit with the original motor carrier.

How to avoid Double Brokering: Make sure you know the motor carrier to which you are entrusting your product.  If you have a very highly valued load, only allow a top tier carrier to move it. Do your due diligence. It is important to include language in your carrier agreements that makes it clear that the motor carrier may not double broker your products, and that the original motor carrier must be the one completing all of the moving of the product from starting point to destination.

Fictitious Pickup:  This may occur when an individual or group of individuals arrives to pick up the product, with fake paperwork and a convincing attitude.  They will go where they are familiar with the area or with the products, in order to keep red flags to a minimum.

How to avoid Fictitious Pickup: Do not release cargo to someone you do not know.  Make sure all employees are knowledgeable about who is and who is not allowed to handle the cargo.  

Unattended Cargo:  Any cargo left unattended, for any length of time, when it is not in a secure location or properly stowed is at risk for cargo theft.

How to avoid having Unattended Cargo stolen:  Make sure that the cargo is not left for extended periods of time, like over a holiday weekend.  Have proper cargo-theft prevention training for those that will be moving your freight. If you know that the cargo will be unattended for a while, take the necessary measures to secure it properly.

While cargo theft can happen to anyone, no matter how prepared you are, taking steps to protect your product will be beneficial. Communication and proper due diligence on your carrier approval process will avoid cargo theft, poor customer service, and the inevitable cargo claims for your stolen shipments.  Make sure to read the full article to learn more, and find out about cargo theft risks and other cargo claim tips: