Cargo theft is nothing new, but as reported by CBC News, it’s on the increase and sophisticated, organized crime networks are targeting the shipping industry.
Traditionally, stealing a shipment meant hot wiring a fully-loaded truck. But new criminal approaches mean that shipping companies have to be on the lookout for much more than truck thieves.
New tactics include setting up false trucking and transportation companies who then bid on shipments online. Once they win the bid, they pick up the shipment, but never deliver it. Very often, by the time the shipper realizes that the goods are gone, it’s far too late to get anything back and the trucking company is nowhere to be found.
The problem is particularly acute in the food industry, including everything from frozen meat to fresh produce, where the product doesn’t have serial numbers and it can be moved relatively quickly through the supply chain to grocery retailers and, ultimately, consumers.
In another case, crooks hacked into a trucking company’s computer system to gain access to information about all of the company’s loads and schedules.
How Shippers Can Protect Themselves
Whether or not you use a third-party logistics (3PL) company to manage all or part of your supply chain, you know the traditional benefits. From consolidating costs, to having more resources and time to focus on your core operations, a 3PL supplier specializes in the fulfillment services that help your operations that are outside your core business.
But 3PLs are also better equipped and protected to avoid the sorts of sophisticated criminal activity that the shipping industry has seen recently. It means one more thing you don’t have to worry about.
Just in case you think that cargo theft is an isolated problem, police and the Ontario Trucking Association estimate that cargo theft has created a $5 to $6 billion black market across Canada. Over 50 cargo thefts are reported each year in York Region alone, according to York Regional Police.
So you can either institute, manage and maintain internal processes to protect your business from cargo theft, or let a 3PL company to do it for you.