Logistics professionals need to beef up security measures in their warehouses, yards, and trucks over the holiday season to prevent cargo theft, and a calendar quirk could make 2016-2017 even worse than usual, experts warn.
The winter holiday shipping season has historically been one of the most dangerous times for cargo theft, global security services provider FreightWatch International (FWI) said Friday. Theft usually increases when thieves perceive rich targets at warehouses packed with extra merchandise to meet the holiday rush, or at storage facilities staffed with fewer personnel than usual over the extended holiday period.
That annual threat may be more acute than usual in the 2016-2017 season because both Christmas Day and New Year's Day occur on Sundays, increasing the chance that shipments may be left unattended or parked in unsecured locations due to changes in holiday working schedules, FWI said.
To combat the increased threat, logistics managers should communicate with shipping partners to confirm holiday hours of operation and mitigate any unforeseen shipping delays, FWI said. Another defensive step is to review security protocols to ensure policies are up to date for both in-transit and warehouse operations. Finally, FWI suggested that shippers deploy covert global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices to detect diverted freight and help recover it in case of theft.
According to FWI records, notable thefts from previous winter holiday weekends include:
2016 - Theft of full truckload of aluminum in Tennessee
2016 - Theft of full truckload of $4 million of footwear in California
2015 - Facility theft of $300,000 of electronics on New Year's Day in Texas
2014 - Fictitious pickup of $1 million of apparel in New Jersey
2013 - Two fictitious pickups of seafood in California
2013 - Fictitious pickup of $50,000 of prepared food in New Jersey
2012 - Facility theft of cell phones in Georgia
2012 - Theft of full truckload of $1 million of laptops in California