How to Prepare for and Avoid Cargo Theft During the Holiday Shipping Season

trucks driving cargo down a freeway using security seals for theft protection

As the holiday season approaches, many businesses are preparing for an increase in shipments. While this is good news for the economy, it also presents a prime opportunity for criminals looking to take advantage of distracted drivers and overloaded warehouses.

Recent stats from CargoNet show how much shipping and cargo theft has risen in the past several years. In 2021, the US & Canada saw $19 million in loss due to cargo theft. Plus, the rising cost of diesel fuel and other transportation costs have only made cargo theft more tempting.

The rise in cargo theft during the holidays is a major concern for trucking companies, as losses can add up quickly. To protect your cargo and minimize losses this season, it’s important to have a comprehensive approach to theft prevention - and one that extends beyond general vigilance.

Why Cargo and Freight Theft is On The Rise

Cargo thefts have been on the rise for a number of years, and the holiday season is when these crimes become particularly prevalent. Several factors contribute to this increase in theft:

  • Increased shipments due to holiday purchases: The holiday season is a busy time of year, and as such, there are more packages and shipments to be moved than ever before. This can create opportunities for criminals looking to take advantage of distracted drivers or overloaded warehouses.
  • Commodity goods have increased in price: As inflation hits the economy, commodity prices have risen. This has led to higher demand for goods such as electronics and jewelry, making them more attractive targets for thieves looking for a quick profit.
  • Pressure from high-fuel costs: The cost of fuel is a significant factor in transportation and logistics, so when gas prices are high, companies often feel the pressure to cut corners and make deliveries faster. This can create opportunities for criminals to get their hands on cargo before it reaches its destination.
  • Lack of security measures: Many businesses fail to take the necessary steps to protect their cargo during the holidays. This can include things like inadequate locks and security seals, leaving trailers unattended for long periods of time, or failing to monitor fuel levels in trucks.
  • More travelers on the roads: During the holidays, there is an increase in traffic which can create more opportunities for thieves to target cargo vans and trucks. Overloaded trucks can also be more vulnerable to hijacking.

With the risks rising, even a minor theft can snowball into a major financial loss. That’s why it’s essential to take the necessary steps to protect your cargo and minimize losses this holiday season.

How To Prepare for and Prevent Holiday Cargo Theft

Whether you are shipping large freight or small parcels, here are some steps you can take to protect your cargo and prevent theft:

1. Create a Strategic Plan

Knowledge of the risks is key to preventing theft. That’s why it’s vital to create a strategic plan that outlines your cargo security policies, detailing who is responsible for what and when. With a clear plan of action, you can better prepare for and respond to any potential threats.

A strategic plan for shipping security should include:

  • Designated routes for drivers
  • Procedures for unloading and loading cargo
  • Secure locks, seals, and tracking devices to monitor shipments
  • Training for drivers on security procedures
  • Establishing protocols for risk mitigation in the event of an incident

With the right plan in place, you can ensure that your cargo is safe and secure throughout the holiday season.

2. Invest in Security Measures

Security measures are necessary if you want to protect your cargo from theft. This includes GPS/RFID tracking and security seals designed to ensure that shipments are secure at all times.

Shipping theft can occur both on the road and off. If you have freight stored in warehouses, it’s important to ensure the facility is secure. This includes access control measures and surveillance cameras to ensure that any suspicious activity is reported and addressed immediately.

cable security seal secures truck freight load from theft

3. Monitor Fuel Levels and Driver Habits

One way to reduce the risk of theft is to monitor fuel levels in trucks and driver behavior. This can help you identify any potential issues before they become a problem. It’s also essential to ensure that drivers follow the designated routes and aren’t taking any unnecessary detours.

It's not only the shipments that are at risk. Supplies used in shipping, such as binders, tarps, chains, and more, should also be monitored and secured. These products can offer a high resale value on the black market and make easy targets for thieves.

Keep fuel levels at a safe level, but avoid over-fueling - as this can leave a truck vulnerable to high-value diesel theft.

4. Educate Employees on Security Protocols

Educating all employees involved in the shipping process on security protocols is essential. This includes drivers, warehouse staff, and anyone else who handles shipments on a regular basis.

Providing security training to employees can help them identify any potential risks or threats and how to prevent them. It’s crucial that everyone understands their role in the shipping process, so they can do their part to protect your cargo. Keep communication channels open and encourage employees to report any suspicious activities they may come across.

5. Increase Visibility with Technology

Technology can be a powerful tool when it comes to preventing cargo theft. With the right tools and systems in place, you can increase visibility into your shipments and gain better control over them.

This includes real-time tracking, temperature sensors, and automated alerts that can help you stay informed and respond quickly to any unexpected changes.

Enhance Your Holiday Shipping Safety with Alta Max

The holidays are a busy time for many businesses, but it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to protect your shipments and minimize losses due to theft. With the right plan and security measures in place, you can ensure that your cargo is safe and secure during the holiday season.

At Alta Max, we are committed to helping keep your cargo safe. As leading experts in shipment security and packaging, we know that Security Seals are an essential aspect of deterrence. Alta Max has a wide variety of High Security Seals (CTPAT) that will provide further protection and provide evidence of tampering. These seals - including our CTPAT-certified seals - are designed to be tamper-evident and offer the highest level of security for your freight.

Visit Alta Max online today to learn more about our High Security Seals, and how they can help protect your cargo during this holiday season.