Cargo Theft Is an Expensive Problem. Here’s How to Solve It.

  • July 11, 2017
  • nheikkinen
  • Reading Time: 2 minutes
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Although it doesn’t get as much attention as consumer-related crimes, cargo theft is a real concern. The opportunity is ripe for thieves. Every day, millions of dollars of commercial goods and supplies are shipped on rail cars, trucks, planes, ships, and other modes. And while supply chains have always been somewhat vulnerable, carriers now must contend with a marketplace that demands specialized services (think same-day shipping) that often involve smaller shipments and shorter distances—making cargo even more prone to theft and a loss in visibility. The result is an industry that suffers up to $30 billion in losses each year, estimates the FBI.

The victims are wide-ranging: Manufacturers lose their supplies, drivers and employees can get hurt during a crime, company reputations are damaged, and there’s an expense to deploying public safety teams. To contend with this serious problem, many companies are moving away from traditional technology such as electronic data interchange (EDI), since it does not provide in-transit shipment information, and are instead adopting more advanced solutions that offer real-time data and analytics during each mode of shipment, regardless of size or distance.

Mining companies, in particular, have become eager to use more sophisticated methods of tracking and protecting their shipments. Although it is normal for these companies to regularly transport millions of dollars’ worth of natural resource goods every month, many of them still depend on outdated systems that only tell them when a shipment has either departed an origin or arrived at a waypoint or destination, making them regular targets for in-transit theft. What’s more, this lack of visibility over their supply chain has made it nearly impossible to measure progress, predict transit times, or meet schedules. As a result, operating costs rise and overall efficiency drops.

To solve this, several mining companies have begun using CalAmp’s Supply Chain Integrity (SCI) managed services and web services to monitor their many hundreds of monthly shipments. With SCI sensor embedded within each shipment and linked to transportation schedules, data can be transmitted electronically in real time directly to the SCI Command Center. If any truck or shipment deviates from its approved route, SCI will immediately notify the company. In this way, SCI has helped thwart dozens of attempted thefts, while also lowering average transit times, potentially saving millions of dollars every month.

Mining is just one example of a variety of industries that can benefit from implementing CalAmp’s SCI smart cargo monitoring technology. Companies shipping perishable goods, for instance, can use CalAmp’s smart tag sensors to get detailed information on temperature, humidity, light, shock and movement throughout the cargo’s journey—and see precisely when shipments have been opened or how long they have remained in one place. Since these sensors are easy to deploy, they can be used to track small, personalized shipments as well.

Cargo theft, the FBI notes, is a multi-billion dollar problem that continues to grow. However, with the availability of advanced end-to-end monitoring solutions like CalAmp SCI, you can not only protect your shipments from theft, but also make them faster and more efficient every step of the way.


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