Supply chain disruptions due to weather or other factors are being viewed as ripe targets of opportunity for cargo thieves, reports Fleet Owner.
When the supply chain gets disrupted by a massive winter storm – as occurred often this past season in North America – or, perhaps, a port worker strike, “a lot of transportation companies being doing things outside of their normal safe practices due to excessive shipment backlogs,” Sam Rizitelli, national director for transportation at Travelers Inland Marine division, told to Fleet Owner.
“During ‘disruptive’ events, there’s confusion and companies are often shorthanded – especially if it’s a weather event,” he added. “Things begin to back up, there’s chaos, and so the normal procedures for handling freight get put aside. That creates an opportunity we see more cargo thieves trying to exploit.”
Scott Cornell, director of the Specialty Investigations Group (SIG) within the Inland Marine division at Travelers, explained how all this freight – particularly on the trucks – is now idle and exposed, often in unsecured locations. “It’s got nowhere to go and thus creates a ‘buffet’ of cargo for thieves to choose from.”
Cornell added that once the disruption passes all of that delayed cargo must now get moved quickly – “again leading to another ‘buffet’ style situation as the focus is on speed and not necessarily proper security procedures,” he explained.
Rizitelli noted that carriers and shippers alike must learn never to lower their guard where cargo in transit is concerned – but that especially goes double when transportation networks get “unsettled” by weather and other disruptive events. “In a way, it’s like football: who owns the clock owns the game,” he said.