Cargo theft has been around for centuries, from robbers attacking merchants on trade routes, to pirates seizing ships at sea, to outlaws high-jacking train car shipments. Evolutions in cargo theft have made it the costliest crime in America. The average value of loss per cargo theft incident has jumped to over $300,000. These are high-reward crimes, occurring nearly three times a day in America alone, and creating financial losses across our nation amounting to a whopping $35 billion annually.


As part of our ongoing commitment to our global customers and in support of the U.S. CBP sharing of the proposed new minimum-security criteria (MSC) for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program, TydenBrooks has prepared a free Supply Chain Security Procedures Manual. This manual will guide our customers in creating multi-layered security strategies that will protect their assets, brand reputation, and bottom-line.


TydenBrooks begins by outlining our customer’s vulnerabilities and creating a plan. There is a multitude of multi-layered security strategies that are customized depending on the company and their supply chain specifics. Below are realistic scenarios that could occur in each of these cargo theft tactic areas and how they can be avoided.


1.    Strategic Cargo Theft 


Company A has a shipment of high-end merchandise heading to New York from Atlanta, and they are on a strict deadline for delivery. Little do the shippers and carriers know that this load has been redirected by an organized crime syndicate that has set a false pick up using a stolen identity and a fake third-party carrier that has been made to seem credible. Because of the strict deadline faced by the shipper, they lax on checking up on this third-party carrier and simply want to deliver the cargo on time. When the shipment is brought to the predetermined area for handoff, the driver glances over the documents without worrying too much about the receiver’s identity or the company they are working for.


It is only later they discover what has occurred when their shipment of high-end merchandise does not arrive at the legitimate distributor on time. By this time, the thieves are long gone, and the cargo has been resold on the black market with no way to trace it. The company files a report but is made aware that there is very little chance that they will retrieve the lost shipment.


Many strategies can be used to protect a company against strategic cargo theft and assure carriers and brokers are who they say they are.


•    Always thoroughly research who the contact and companies are that you are working with. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), industry associations, and searching online can help in this process.


•    At the point of pick-up, always confirm a positive identity on the driver using driver information, authenticating the company, and use of unique pick-up numbers. Also verifying the security seal number used on your truck matches with what the driver has on record. 


•    If there is ever any doubt about the authenticity of these aspects, never hesitate to contact other business partners and customers.



2.    Straight Cargo Theft


Company B has a shipment on the way across the country. Along the way, the driver needs to stop at a truck stop to get food, use the restroom, shower, and stretch his/her legs. Little does this driver know that he/she has stopped in a high cargo theft area, which would explain the few trucks parked in this lot. As the driver is inside taking care of business, thieves that stake out this particular stop have set in motion their well-laid plan. Upon noticing the security measures on the trailer are only subpar, they easily pop open the trailer door and make quick work of moving pallets into their own truck. They then close the door and are gone before the driver even comes back. When the driver does return, the cargo is gone along with the thieves, making it a complete loss for the company. Entire trailers are also stolen, especially if unloaded in staging areas and left overnight or weekends.


Multi-layered security strategies come into play to prevent this form of cargo theft, including security seals as well as best practices for moving cargo.


•    Whenever possible, never leave unattended, full trailers. Be aware of the area you are in and whether it has high cargo theft.


•    Use real-time GMS technology and ISO 17712 high-security seals to secure and lock truck doors.


•    To prevent bad actors from making off with an entire trailer, utilize air cuff locks.


•    If you must stage/drop a load of cargo, consider installing landing gear locks.



3.    Pilferage


Company C has a shipment of cargo that will be making many stops to deliver to different distributors. The workers at Company C’s warehouse who load the trucks decide to sneak a few boxes out of totes. These boxes just so happen to contain high-end product, so a few boxes equal thousands of dollars. This team of bad actors tends to do this every so often with different shipments, and the losses add up to over $100, 000 by the end of the year.


Along the route at different stops, a few other bad actors get the idea that they can easily snag a few of these high-end items each time a truck comes through, so they add to the losses. By the time this is detected by the company, there is no telling where the losses are taking place or who can be held responsible. Thus, the police are unable to file a useful report. This, again, results in a terrible loss for the company.


Again, a multi-layered security strategy is critical here to help secure cargo not only while on the road, but during loading and drop-offs as well.


•    Make sure you have a robust Internal Supply Chain Security Program with procedures and policies well defined.


•    Secure all totes, cartons, and containers by utilizing security seals and VOID tapes and labels to provide visual tamper evidence.


•    After every stop, drivers should check their trucks and make sure security seal numbers are correct and that their trucks haven’t been opened, pilfered, and resealed.


•    Always use high-security ISO 17722 seals for truck doors, hinges, or lids.


4.    Technology


Company D believes they have secured a shipment as they have GPS tracking covertly placed within it. This will help keep track of a shipment, and if it is stolen, allow law enforcement to track it easily. Little do they know, cargo thieves are using “sniffers,” devices that detect these GPS devices so they can be jammed. Along the route, a group of bad actors makes off with the entire shipment. When the company goes to find the GPS location, they only find that it has been jammed and cannot be traced.


Shippers and carriers should again continue to deploy their multi-layered strategies and consider investing in track and trace technology.


•    It is advised to implement a real-time GSM ISO 17712 security seal, such as the TydenBrooks GeoBolt™.


•    As this solution is not tied to the GPS units tracking the truck and trailers, it provides an additional layer of security that can be followed on desktop computers or mobile phones.


•    Learn more about this technology solution and how it provides real-time visibility, geo-fencing, and cut seal alerts by checking out our recent blog post, Introducing the New GeoBolt™.




5.    Cyber


Company E has a very effective multi-layered security strategy in place. They use high-security and tamper-evident seals, they follow all of the best practices when it comes to avoiding strategic and straight cargo theft, and they have a significant loss prevention program to prevent pilferage. There is one thing they have not considered as being a threat, cyber-attacks.


One day they receive an email, which they aren’t aware is a phishing email containing a trojan virus. Once they open it, their company system is infected, and access to sensitive data is opened up to a group of cargo thieves. Now they can access delivery and pick up information which they can use to set up strategic cargo theft methods that are harder to detect.


Believe it or not, strong cyber-security is essential for your company to help prevent cargo theft. Always carefully examine your websites and servers available to the public.


•    Always use robust anti-malware and firewall software.


•    Have a cybersecurity consultant conduct audits regularly.


•    Invest in cybersecurity insurance.



 Leading the Way, Securing the World


TydenBrooks stands out among the rest when it comes to innovation, experience, knowledge, and customer service. We have many long-term employees that have been with the company for over 20 years who are experts when it comes to creating these strategies. They are always willing to sit down with our customers to develop the programs that work best for your supply chain. Our main U.S. plants are located in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and Angola, Indiana; and offer many products locally, so you get it fast and know the quality is high.


Contact us at 1-800-458-SEAL or to discuss how we can help protect your supply chain in 2019 with the right layered security strategy. Since 1873, we have been creating customized solutions for almost every industry, for companies around the world. We look forward to working with you to develop the most effective strategies and tactics to meet your evolving security needs.         


Download your free “Supply Chain Security Procedures Manual”


Supply Chain Manual