As Memorial Day weekend approaches in the U.S., CargoNet is warning about a rapid increase in fraudulent activity and cargo theft, and encouraging companies in the supply chain to strengthen security measures.
More than 900 criminal cases were reported within the first 20 weeks of 2023, a 41% increase over the same period last year. And since November 2022 the U.S. has seen a sharp increase in frauds that involve technically sophisticated misdirected shipments, CargoNet warns.
Thieves also strengthen their tactics and efforts as shipping volumes and demand increase during the Memorial Day weekend, it adds. This year the holiday falls on May 29.
There have been 125 cases of stolen cargo and vehicles during Memorial Day weekends from 2018 to 2022, CargoNet says, referring to periods that stretch between the Thursday before and Wednesday after the holiday. Total losses were valued at almost $17 million, with average losses valued at an estimated $394,000.
California, Texas and Florida — the three most targeted states in the country — accounted for 48% of all Memorial Day thefts. However, the concerns go beyond these states.
The Eastern half of the U.S. has seen a spike in trailer burglary and full trailer thefts as well.
Broad increase in criminal activity
Overall, the current criminal activity in the supply chain exceeds the previous 10 years when comparing the first 20 weeks of each year.
“All transportation industry professionals should take steps to mitigate theft this coming holiday,” CargoNet says in a press release.
Fictitious pickups are especially common during the holidays. According to CargoNet, end-of-day transactions should adhere to strict vetting processes and have a supervisor confirm loads are checked. In addition, questions should be raised about any driver willing to move an undesirable load for a rate that’s lower than the industry standard.
Strategies to prevent thefts
Carriers should be extremely cautious while paying fuel advances and ensure there is proper, direct communication with shippers, CargoNet adds.
Physical locks for air systems and steering columns add yet another layer of protection for tractors, while trailers can be protected by using ISO 17712 seals, hardened padlocks, and kingpin locks, the company says.
As important as the preventative measures may be, detailed descriptions of trucks, trailers, containers and chassis will help with investigations should losses occur.
Removing the keys from facility equipment like forklifts and motorized pallet jacks and keeping them in a safe location can also minimize the risks of break-ins and thefts.
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