With Black Friday on the horizon, consumer goods of all kinds are making their way from manufacturers to distribution centers and retail locations across the country. As shoppers count down the days until they can score deals on the hottest products, cargo thieves are counting on cashing in on opportunities to swipe unattended trailers and shipments.
The industry experiences more cargo theft incidents when there is a higher volume of consumer goods moving through the supply chain. Holiday weekends and the weeks leading up to the Black Friday retail shopping holiday are prime times for organized crime groups to target the trucks, warehouses, and distribution centers that send or receive those goods.
But while we are in the midst of a season notorious for a spike in cargo thefts, there are a few precautions you can take to protect your freight.
Remember that freight at rest is freight at risk. The more time freight spends sitting unattended, the likelier the chances are for truckload theft. Try to keep the amount freight that’s shipped out over weekends to a minimum, or work with your carriers to avoid prolonged stretches in drop yards. Be especially mindful in traditionally active cargo theft areas like Southern California, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Miami, and Atlanta.
Identify vulnerabilities and don’t let your guard down. Dig into operational controls to understand which protective measures are in place at every point in the supply chain. Additionally, know that all “secure” drop yards are not created equal, so it’s important to verify and validate whenever possible. Is the drop yard gated? Guarded? Well-lit? Is it a spared space? You can also do a quick Google Earth search to see what those yards look like and to help determine if they meet your expectations and standards.
Leverage relationships with your third party logistics provider (3PL). Your representative should be engaging in proactive measures to keep your freight safe. Your rep can validate carriers; help them understand best practices to keep freight safe; and provide insight around your expectations, lanes, and supply chain.
To learn more about how cargo is targeted and what can be done about it, download the white paper: Cargo Theft: How Cargo Is Targeted and What Can Be Done About It.
Christopher McLoughlin is Risk Manager at C.H. Robinson. He is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing strategic programs focused on risk prevention attributable to various cargo. Cargo of specific focus includes high value, hazardous materials/dangerous goods, and other security-sensitive materials. Chris brings over 18 years of logistics industry experience. His career has included various sales and operational roles, with the last 10 years focused on cargo claims legal liability, marine and inland marine insurance, regulatory compliance, risk management consulting, and vendor relationship management. He is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.