SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Outsourcing might be an effective way to lower costs in the supply chain, but it can weaken links for cargo thieves to exploit.
By outsourcing production, and turning warehouse and distribution over to wholesalers, manufacturers have a harder time enforcing basic security measures like doing background checks on potential hires and requiring team drivers haul sensitive cargo.
As reported by the Journal of Commerce last week, this was one of the messages during theTransportation and Logistics Council’s annual meeting in San Diego earlier this month. The 10th annual conference was co-sponsored by the Transportation Loss Prevention & Security Association.
In Canada, cargo theft is estimated to be a $5 billion problem, with $500,000 worth of property disappearing in the Greater Toronto Area every day. In the U.S. it’s more than double.
While the problem of cargo theft is starting to get a closer look from both the industry and police enforcement, a few hurdles still remain. For one, enforcement officials estimate cargo theft to be underreported by 50 to 60 percent. As well, compared to the size of the cargo theft business, there are not enough officers tackling the problem and organized crime outfits are getting more sophisticated in how they operate.
As Chuck Forsaith, director of corporate security at Purdue Pharma Technologies, explained during the conference, most cargo thefts are not done with a gun in the face of a trucker like a hijacking.
Many cargo thieves are non-confrontational and make off with a loaded trailer when the driver stops at a truckstop or at a motel. No weapon means the criminal liability faced by the thieves is significantly less.
Theft rings can also be highly sophisticated. Some will perform aerial searches of warehouses over the Internet and maintain extensive surveillance of facilities and drivers before they strike.
Some tips Forsaith has for hauling cargo include: always do thorough background checks and use team drivers to haul high-value cargo; since most cargo thefts occur in the first 200 miles of the trip, no stops should be made during that period; always have one team driver stay with the truck; and use GPS devices on trucks.