illustration of Cleveland warehouse security to reduce cargo theft

OTDW Cleveland Trucking & Warehouse Security Limits Cargo Theft Risk

While supply chains are beginning to stabilize from an extended period of volatility, there’s one concern that appears to be steadily increasing: Cargo theft. On Time Delivery & Warehouse has always taken seriously our trucking and warehouse security efforts. We’re keenly aware of what the National Insurance Crime Bureau is characterizing as a “growing and significant threat” to companies, carriers, and consumers.

Cargo theft is defined as the criminal taking of any cargo (i.e., goods, cash, baggage, chattel, etc.) that is wholly or partially a commercial shipment of freight that’s between the points of origin and destination. It can include snatching goods right off of a railroad car, truck, or other vehicle, or breaking into a CFS (commercial freight station) or warehouse/distribution facility.

Sometimes thieves are making off with small amounts of valuable cargo. But a fair number are making off with entire truckloads. The NICB estimates the total cost of cargo theft in the U.S. tops $15-$35 billion annually.

Online marketplaces (particularly on social media platforms) are the most common point of resale, which is why the practice poses such a threat to consumers too. Stolen/resold items often aren’t properly transported, stored, or delivered – meaning there’s no guarantee of their freshness, effectiveness, or safety.

Recent analysis of reported truckload carrier cargo theft incidents indicate that there’s been a 55 percent increase this past quarter compared to the one prior. Full truckload theft is up 17 percent nationally. Theft of high-value cargo is a bigger risk in or near larger cities and freight hubs, such as Route 40, which runs through southern Ohio.

Common Cargo Theft Techniques

Cargo may be especially vulnerable during loading and unloading, but also while goods are parked in unsecured lots (public and private) or if stored in a facility that lacks adequate warehouse security.

In some cases, thieves are simply targeting the low-hanging fruit of vulnerable goods in unsecured lots or vehicles. Such heists often involve small, easy-to-turn-around items, such as home, garden, food, auto, electronics, and beverage products. Hot spots for this have been identified in Georgia, Kentucky, and Indiana.

However, uptick in cases of fictitious pickups targeting larger hauls is a more sophisticated and rising concern for many carriers. Fictitious pickup is a cargo theft technique typically carried out by organized crime groups engaged in internet fraud and forgery. They use false IDs, bogus carrier names, or hacked data systems to intercept entire shipments. Most reported cases of fictitious pickup thefts in the last year have been on the West Coast/Los Angeles area, though there have also been a fair number reported in Florida and Illinois as well.

It’s for this reason that On Time Delivery & Warehouse logistics professionals understand that bolstering Cleveland trucking & warehouse security requires both physical protections and cybersecurity measures.

Clients Can Trust Our Trucking & Warehouse Security Practices

Preventing cargo theft requires a multi-pronged approach from many different touchpoints and partners. As longtime logistics partners facilitating Cleveland trucking, CFS, and warehousing/distribution, we have made robust security measures an integral part of our practices – and ongoing operational reviews.

Although we won’t tip our whole hand on internal security protocols, we can say that our trucking & warehouse security measures generally include:

  • Access control. Restricted entry to the facility, fleet vehicles, and storage lots ensures only authorized personnel have access. Meticulous personnel logs and real-time tracking of inventory are also utilized.
  • Site and perimeter security. Monitored doors, high-resolution security cameras, alarm systems, ample lighting, and fencing, provide protection to the goods coming to, going out, or staying at our warehouse.
  • Loading dock security. Our processes ensure tight control over access to loading dock areas – including vigorous driver verification checks and outgoing cargo inspections.
  • Scrupulous inventory management. Regular inventory checks and real-time tracking help to quickly detect discrepancies and other red flags for theft.
  • Employee background checks and training. Knowing who all of our employees are, developing a clear system of security protocols, and cultivating a culture of awareness and responsibility goes a long way toward minimizing cargo theft risks.
  • Secure storage. Special security protocols may be initiated for certain items that are high-value or easily pilferable. Some containers may be equipped with tamper-resistant seals.
  • Strong cybersecurity. Protecting our digital records and systems against cyberattacks will always be top on our short list of warehouse security features.
  • Clear emergency protocol. In the event there is a cargo theft, having a clear, concise, effective emergency response plan is essential. Our team is trained on not just how to prevent cargo theft, but identify, report, and respond to it.

By implementing these security measures and staying vigilant, warehouses can significantly reduce the risk of cargo theft and protect their assets. Regular security audits and adjustments to security protocols can help adapt to changing threats and maintain a high level of security.

For information on our Cleveland warehousing, CFS freight, and trucking services, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Cargo thefts from trucks, warehouses spike during Q2, Sept. 25, 2023, By Noi Mahoney,

NE Ohio 3PL Partner Helps Businesses Build Supply Chain Sustainability, Sept. 15, 2023, Cleveland Warehouse & Distribution Blog

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