CargoNet expects significant threat to freight transportation this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
CargoNet reviewed theft data from 2017 to 2021 for the Thursday prior to Memorial Day to the Wednesday after in order to help supply chain professionals mitigate theft. There were 144 events reported with an average of 29 events per year. The stolen cargo in each event was worth an average of $298,328 - due in part to 5 thefts that exceeded $1 million in property stolen.
Twenty-one percent of recorded thefts occurred on Friday and a significant amount of thefts also occurred on Sunday (16%) and Monday (15%). Food and beverage items were the most stolen and cargo thieves targeted a wide range of products in this category. The most common were alcoholic beverages, seafood products, and meat products. Electronics were not a significant target in previous years, but such shipments are considerably more attractive this upcoming holiday due to supply chain disruptions.
Theft activity in the first quarter of 2022 was just over 15% higher than pre-pandemic levels. CargoNet’s Analysts expect theft activity to remain elevated this Memorial Day weekend. We continue to be concerned about the increase in rail thefts and targeting of computer electronics shipments shipping from California, as well as a breakout of full truckload cargo thefts spreading across the eastern half of the United States. In previous years, household goods and food and beverage items were the most commonly targeted commodities. This would include items like appliances, toys, alcoholic beverages, and seafood. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shortages and price inflation of specific goods and we think the items most affected - like infant formula and computer electronics - are the items most at-risk this holiday.
Supply chain professionals can mitigate theft of these shipments by arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments, embedding covert tracking devices in the shipment, and using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries. Drivers should adhere to the “red zone” rule and avoid stopping within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them. Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately and contact CargoNet at 888-595-2638 only after law enforcement has been notified and there are no immediate threats to life or property.