December 20, 2019 | Industry Insights

Christmas Holiday Shipping Risks

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Cargo Theft is at an All Time High During the Holiday Season

While it may be the most wonderful time of year when it comes to gift giving and celebrations, the holidays pose a great risk for your cargo shipments. Historically Christmas, and the holiday season in general, has been one of the most dangerous times for cargo theft. 

Why is this? During the holiday season, there is more opportunity for cargo shipments to be left unattended for longer periods of time. This year in particular, Christmas and New Year’s Day fall in the middle of the week, elevating the risk.  In fact, in a study conducted by the SensiGuard™ Supply Chain Intelligence Center (SCIC), it was found that just under two thefts per day occurred during the holidays. And these thefts, that occurred between 2014-2018, amounted to an average loss of $207,001 US dollars. That’s 20% higher than the average for the remainder of the year. 

The most affected industries include: 

  1. Electronics (25%)
  2. Clothing and Shoes (15%)
  3. Facility Thefts (9%)
  4. Pilferage (15%)

As a manufacturer or logistics service provider, you might feel a little stressed out by these statistics. But don’t let it ruin your Christmas break. There are precautions you can take to protect against the threat of cargo theft and minimize the holiday shipping risks.


Protecting Your Shipments Throughout the Holidays

Even though the holidays are just a little over a week away, there are still some ways you can keep your cargo safe. The SensiGuard SCIC recommends that you touch base with your logistics and security professionals to go over security protocols and best practices for when your shipments may be left unattended for certain periods of time. 

Below are some other suggestions from the SensiGuard SCIC to mitigate the risks involved in shipping around the holidays: 

  1. Confirm your receiver’s hours of operation for the upcoming holidays weeks
  2. Ensure there are secure parking locations in the event that a shipment will be left unattended based on when it is scheduled to be delivered
  3. Invest in GPS tracking and active monitoring of any high-value shipments 

It is ultimately your responsibility to take steps to secure your shipments both while in transit and while being warehoused. Criminal attempts happen all year long so it never hurts to take added precautions, especially when the statistics suggest the risks are elevated. 


Guidelines for Transportation and Storage of Cargo Shipments

During the holidays, it is also a good idea to familiarize yourself and your logistics and security professionals with the guidelines established by IMUA, PCSC, Travelers Insurance, SWTSC, SETSC, NETSC, the Cargo Security Alliance, and Sensitech. 

Transportation and Storage Guidelines: 

  1. Verify the authenticity of all shipment-related activities throughout the season – this includes driver and business verification PRIOR to releasing a shipment. 
  2. Firmly establish communication between drivers and shippers. 
  3. Cargo crime is frequent at truck stops and highway rest areas. Keep things secure, well lit and highly visible when stopping. 
  4. Utilize GPS monitoring to its fullest extent possible, especially for high dollar value shipments.
  5. During the holidays, make use of theft-resistant locking mechanisms for tractors, trailers and cargo compartments.
  6. If at all possible, do an inspection of the inside and outside of your facility. 
  7. Check all alarms, auxiliary power and CCTV recording equipment to ensure proper functionality. 
  8. Treat all alarms if they were real threats. Respond accordingly .
  9. Encourage local law enforcement to patrol the area, especially during times it will be unattended.  

Cargo theft is real and it happens every single day. Keep your shipments safe and secure by taking every additional protocol and safety measure to ensure your delivery is safe during transit and while being stored in a facility. Don’t be a victim this holiday season, instead, be prepared. 

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