Cargo security: the art of the steal

Inbound Logistics. October 19, 2017 – 

Keeping your cargo safe from theft is a bigger challenge than you might think. Follow these steps to reduce the risks that make your company a target.

In 2015, 628 incidents of cargo theft resulted in about $27.9 million in stolen cargo, according to the FBI’s 2015 Report on Cargo Theft. Less than 20 percent was recovered.

What’s more, many incidents go unreported, making cargo theft a larger challenge than official numbers indicate. “There’s a dark side to reporting bad information,” says Frank Scafidi, spokesperson with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, based in Des Plaines, Illinois. Potential shippers might think twice about using carriers that were targeted by cargo thieves.

Shippers also stand to lose by making thefts public. “A theft will hit the media immediately,” says Erik Hoffer, president with CGM Security Solutions, Punta Gorda, Florida. The stock may take a beating, as investors know the company likely is out the potential revenue the products would have generated.

Rather than risk negative publicity, companies often accept a small percentage of shrinkage. “They eat their loss, and leave,” Hoffer says.

To be sure, letting incidents of theft go unreported can exact human and financial costs. Stolen food and medicine that’s not properly stored can inflict real harm if used by unsuspecting consumers. Terrorists can introduce bioweapons into cargo obtained by theft. “Companies need to report theft,” says Keith Lewis, vice president of operations with CargoNet, a provider of cargo theft solutions in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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