Networking equipment, tequila and footwear were high on the list of thieves intercepting cargo shipments during the 2020 holiday season, Verisk’s CargoNet reported yesterday.

CargoNet also offered tips for truck drivers, freight brokers and shippers to stem the tide in 2021.

CargoNet reviewed theft data for the time period extending from December 23 to January 2 for the past five years in order to help supply chain professionals secure their supply chains for the upcoming holiday period. The data revealed a total of 185 theft events recorded, or an average of 37 events for each of the five years.

The average stolen shipment was valued at $151,199 but the events listed below eclipsed the averages:

  • A $3 million theft of networking equipment in California
  • Just over $500,000 of stolen tequila from Tampa, Fla.
  • $500,000 and $417,000 thefts of footwear in Georgia and Oregon.
  • $400,000 theft of mattresses from Columbia, Md.

An infographic delivered with the CargoNet report showed that Texas, California and Florida were the most targeted states, and that parking lots, truck stops and secured yards were among the most targeted locations.

How can the events be prevented?

Addressing managers of warehouses and distribution facilities, CargoNet says one simply tip is to make sure that lighting, backup generators, alarm systems, surveillance equipment, perimeter fencing, and other types of barrier are in good working order.

“Remove keys from all facility equipment and place them in a secure location, especially motorized pallet jacks and forklifts,” CargoNet adds.

Also recommended: “Never treat any alarm signal as a false alarm. When targeting warehouse locations, cargo thieves tend to trip facility alarm systems multiple times before a break-in to give law enforcement and facility managers the impression that the alarm system is broken.”

Among the tips for freight brokers, CargoNet notes that “a trucker that is willing to take an undesirable load for a lower rate than the industry standard may be setting you up for a theft.”

Warning against scams by truckers requesting fuel advances, CargoNet advices that suppliers need to call the shipper directly to confirm that the load was picked up. “Do not accept incoming calls from a shipper trying to tell you the driver is there. It could be the scammers spoofing the phone number of the shipper.”

Reporting on theft trends, CargoNet noted that a spike in thefts occurred on December 23, December 31, and January 1, with New Year’s Day having the most activity of any other day in the analysis.

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

Source: CargoNet