Ahead of the impending July Fourth holiday weekend, CargoNet reports that theft in the supply chain is at its highest levels in over 10 years with no signs of slowing.
CargoNet's Analysts reviewed theft trends around July 4 for the previous five years to help supply chain professionals mitigate risk of theft this upcoming holiday. They found 119 theft events reported in the analysis period, but note theft events actually started to increase above average activity levels on June 29. Theft events peaked on June 30 but remained elevated until the July 4 holiday itself. CargoNet said this is because loaded conveyances are left unattended prior to the holiday and only noticed missing once businesses reopen and operations return to normal.
Within the holiday analysis period, theft events were most common in San Bernardino County, California Dallas County, Texas, and Cook County, Illinois. Cargo thieves especially targeted shipments of computers and computer accessories, lumber, and various kinds of food and beverage products like sodas, snack foods, and other prepared foods. Cargo thefts were evenly split between theft of a whole loaded conveyance and burglary to a loaded conveyance.
Fraud schemes were not a major threat in previous years, but CargoNet has recorded nearly 500 fraud and fictitious pickup incidents since November 2022 and crimes of this nature have increased 503% year-over-year. CargoNet expects the organized crime groups perpetrating these thefts to continue throughout the holiday weekend. These crimes are being perpetrated all over the United States, though they are most common in Southern California.
Logistics brokers and shippers across the country should be on high alert, particularly for shipments of alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, solar panels, televisions, automobile fluids and oils, tires, and copper. Fictitious pickups have been most common in Los Angeles County, California; San Bernardino County, California; Chambers County, Texas; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Orange County, California. CargoNet has received recent reports of frequent targeting of shippers in Harris County, Texas; Travis County, Texas; DeKalb County, Georgia; and Henry County, Georgia.
To mitigate risk, logistics brokers should only send pickup information to verified e-mail addresses that have been associated with the motor carrier authority for a long period of time. If a shipment is canceled, the pickup information for the shipment should be changed. Logistics brokers should also consider limiting the number of shipments a single authority can haul at once if the authority is new to their network or has suddenly become active after long periods of dormancy.