Defeating the Cargo Grinch this Holiday Season

Cargo theft spikes during the holiday season, posing risks to the $17 trillion US transport industry. Learn how remote video monitoring thwarts these holiday 'Grinches'.
Freight Terminal

It’s the holidays! No time during the year are there so many products in transit – whether it’s presents being delivered to people’s homes, goods and materials coming into ports from far-away places, or products being delivered to market so stores can pack their shelves.

For most of us, this is a joyous time of giving. But it is also a perfect situation for the takers − the holiday “Grinches” who view lots of stuff in transit to be lots of theft targets. We’ve already seen a spike in criminals stealing cargo in 2023. This problem stands to only get worse as we hit the holiday season. More products in transit means more opportunities for Grinches to steal them and to ruin the holidays of would-be recipients.

Targeting Trucks

All sorts of vehicles are used to transport goods, including ships, airplanes, trains and trucks. Cargo transport accounts for more than $17 trillion of the U.S. economy and 44 million jobs. Unfortunately, this cargo is also a target of criminals. The most easily accessible cargo is carried by trucks, so it is no surprise that they are most often targeted.

We often see trucks on the highway and don’t think twice about it. But within those trucks is cargo that is often coveted by thieves. Sometimes these trucks are owned by the company doing the shipping, but organizations often will use third-party logistics (3PL) providers to handle transport needs so they can focus on their core business rather than managing trucks. The largest of these 3PLs, UPS, accounts for more than 6% of the U.S. economy, but there are many more 3PLs moving cargo around the country. And what any will tell you, the target of criminals is not so much the vehicle as the cargo they carry.

Cargo at Risk

3PL cargo theft often occurs at service centers, warehouses, truck stops, or other places where the cargo is not moving – the old saying, “Freight at rest is freight at risk” is really true. Some high-end operations are putting in-truck security cameras and systems to reduce theft, but for most 3PLs, cargo not moving is at risk. And, securing trucks is only part of the problem – protecting other areas where cargo is kept, such as warehouses, is the other part.

According to CargoNet, a database of stolen cargo, theft from trucks and warehouses went up 57% in Q2, year-over-year. And, thieves are determining the value of cargo ahead of time, so these thefts tend to be of high-value items and are pre-meditated acts.

There is hope for 3PLs this holiday season, though. They may not be able to stop the Grinch at remote locations like truck stops, but they can harden their own environments against criminals. By deploying remote video monitoring (RVM) services around warehouses, loading docks and anywhere where cargo is at rest – including trucks − they can foil the plans of even well-informed criminals looking to become a Grinch this holiday season.

In addition to our traditional RVM services for fixed locations, we can provide mobile monitoring units that require no local electricity or internet connectivity to keep watch over overflow spaces and facilities, which are used most heavily during the busy holiday season. For more information, talk to Pro-Vigil’s security experts today.

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