As cargo moves from west coast ports, beware of thefts

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Cargo theft prevention firm FreightWatch International issued this week a warning to carriers and drivers moving the surge of cargo at ports on the West Coast following the recent labor agreement between port workers and managers.

“As the massive backlog of cargo begins to release into the supply chain, the frenetic situation will be rife with opportunity for cargo criminals,” FreightWatch said in its warning.

The cargo theft threat stems from several factors, FreigthtWatch says, including haste that will come from carriers and shippers trying to clear the port backlog and an influx of carriers and drivers untrained on the dangers of port-related cargo theft aiding in clearance of the backlog.

And West Coast ports are already vulnerable targets for cargo thieves, FreightWatch says, with 25 percent of all recorded cargo thefts in the U.S. occurring within 200 miles of the ports of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

“This target rich environment coupled with the tumultuous situation creates the perfect storm for organized cargo criminals proficient in the myriad of identity theft techniques,” FreightWatch’s warning says.

The firm recommends a layered approach to cargo theft prevention — that is, using multiple prevention tactics — and using dedicated team drivers and planned and approved staging areas.