Cargo theft costly for transportation companies

Transportation companies face many costs, whether they're completing long-haul routes or direct store delivery. One major expense many organizations don't consider is cargo theft, a growing problem which can result in millions lost each year.

Theft still a significant problem
While the number of cargo thefts has declined in recent months, the value of stolen loads has jumped, according to a new report from FreightWatch International. The firm reported 185 thefts from March to May and these incidents lead to an average loss of $156,408. When compared with first quarter 2013, these numbers mark a 16 percent drop in the total number of thefts, but a 9 percent spike in average loss value.

Security and investigation firm Squad Security reported that across all transportation industries, cargo theft occurs almost three times per day and results in annual losses of about $35 billion.

Data from both FreightWatch International and Squad Security indicates some of the most commonly stolen items are food and drink products. Electronic goods and pharmaceuticals are also high on the list of things thieves target, as they can easily be resold illegally. FreightWatch International found the states that saw the highest number of thefts were California, Texas and Florida.

"Firms with high value shipments really can't be too cautious in taking the necessary steps required to prevent theft of high-value products," said Michael Sapraicone, president of Squad Security. "Careful planning and execution by experts in the cargo security field can save a company millions by making sure a shipment gets where it is intended to go and doesn't wind up in the wrong hands."

Deterring thieves
As theft continues to be a costly problem for transportation companies, it is vital they take the necessary precautions to deter thieves. This is especially true if drivers are carrying valuable shipments through states that see the highest number of criminal instances. While employing proper security measures and training drivers is one crucial step, using routing software is another. By taking the most direct route to their scheduled stops, drivers are on the road for shorter periods, leaving their cargo less open to potential theft. Route optimization software can also make it possible for fleet managers to cut fuel spend, allowing them to invest in new insurance policies or training initiatives that will further protect their firms against cargo theft and give them additional peace of mind.