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Cargo theft is an equal opportunity crime. Today, we find street gangs, organized crime, carrier employees, and individuals and groups all actively involved in the trade of stolen freight. They are becoming more organized, using increasingly sophisticated technology, and relying more and more on inside information (i.e., employee involvement).
Whether it’s 5,000 pounds of fish, a load of personal computers, or a full truckload of pharmaceuticals, loaded trailers containing virtually any type of cargo are potential targets for theft. Some estimates place annual U.S. cargo losses at $10 billion, and as the value of cargo increases, the incidence of cargo theft is on the rise — forcing many motor carriers and insurance providers to focus on ways to stem their losses.
Costs from cargo theft include not only the actual value of the cargo itself, but also:
The Department of Justice estimates that 80 percent of cargo thefts occur while the freight is in transit.
What can you do? Load security begins with knowing exactly who is picking up a given load. The key to this is proper and adequate carrier/shipper communication. Before any load is picked up, motor carriers should share, at a minimum, the following information with shippers:
Have drivers supervise the loading process, when possible. From a purely cargo-claims-prevention perspective, drivers (and motor carriers) need to make sure that the right quantity of the right product is put on the trailer. In addition, drivers need to ensure that damaged or leaking cargo is not loaded.
Loading security tips for drivers. The following tips are provided to help give drivers a better understanding of what to look for when supervising any loading activity: