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December 14, 2020

Cargo theft prevention

Mike Bohon

Online shopping or ecommerce has been part of the trucking landscapt since the 1990s, but it has never been more prevalent than it is today. According to Parcel Pending, roughly 51 percent of purchases are being made online.[1] Whether it is for ease or safety, packages are coming to our doorsteps at a higher rate than ever before. With that, comes an increased opportunity for theft.

Parcel Pending also stated that 23 million Americans have fallen victim to package thieves, and the average value of those packages is between $50 and $100.1 With the holidays approaching, the number of packages and corresponding thefts will inevitably increase.

The trucking industry faces the same problems. As the holiday season approaches, the chances of a cargo theft increase. But instead of having a $50 to $100 package stolen, it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in freight that comes up missing. According to an article published by Transport Topics, the average value of a full load of cargo stolen is $128,415.[2] More holiday freight, long weekends, and unattended equipment and buildings create the perfect opportunity for thieves.

Put your company in the best position to prevent cargo thefts
Use these tips for you and your drivers to make sure your cargo is protected.


  • Screen your employees well.
  • Install GPS tracking and monitoring on truck, trailer, and load.
  • Communicate often with your drivers.
  • Provide employees training on cargo theft prevention.


  • Arrive at the shipper with plenty of fuel and rest.
  • Always lock trailer doors with a padlock.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when starting a trip after being loaded.
  • Do not stop immediately after picking up freight unless your available hours to drive are limited.
  • Report suspicious activity. Communicate with your company and local authorities when appropriate.
  • Know where you’re going to stop and only use reputable truck stops and parking areas when rest is needed.
  • Conduct an inspection of your truck and trailer after each stop, and prior to each departure.
  • Make sure the cab of your truck is secured at all times.
  • Never leave your keys in your truck when you go inside a truck stop or rest area.
  • Do not discuss the details of your trip with anyone.
  • Do not pick up anyone looking for a ride.
  • Know the receivers’ hours and plan for secure parking if you will be arriving early.

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list but merely an overview of certain areas that should be given attention. You should conduct a risk assessment for your company to make sure all areas are covered. Cargo theft is a real threat, especially during the holiday season. The good news is that there are meaningful steps you can take to protect your company and your employees from any would be thieves.

[1] Parcel Pending, Top 5 Scary Facts about Package Theft & How to Prevent it, October 2020

[2] Transport Topics, Cargo Theft Likely to Increase Over July Fourth Holiday, Report Says, July 2020