The Official Blog of Penske Transportation Solutions

Transportation Carriers Work to Mitigate Cargo Theft

Cargo theft continues to increase throughout the U.S. and carriers are responding by training drivers, embracing tracking technology and sharing information to protect valuable loads.


While no one fleet can be 100 percent secure, there are ways to manage the process and have security throughout the operation.

“We regard all cargo as valuable,” said Aaron Henderson, Penske Logistics director of loss prevention.

“When we begin working with new customers, security and inventory controls serve as part of the process,” Henderson continued. “We want to put in the level of protection that is needed right out of the gate. We also work to improve upon the level of security as the relationship grows.”

The four states that reported the most theft were California, Texas, New Jersey and Georgia.

The way cargo moves across the country and the major trade lanes, wherever there is a bottleneck of cargo, that is where the most thefts tend to occur.

There are even “hot spots” within the states. California has been the top state for cargo theft almost every quarter, and the majority of that cargo related to criminal activity is in the LA Basin. In Texas, the majority of it is in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

But carriers hauling loads in states with low theft rates should still stay on high alert for cargo theft.

For example, Tennessee isn’t in the top five states, but Memphis isn’t a city where you want to leave your truck unattended very long. Utah and Alabama are two states that haven’t been on the list before, but are starting to experience a lot of cargo theft.

Risk is also directly associated with the product the carrier is hauling. Metals, food, clothing, and electronics are among the top targets, as well as those hauling pharmaceuticals and consumer electronics to distribution centers. These loads carry a higher risk.

The majority of in-transit thefts occur when the vehicles are left unattended. Drivers should use their anti-theft devices no matter how long they’re going to be away. Park it in a location where there is good lighting or under a security camera, and make it less appealing to the thieves.

To help minimize theft, some carriers are requiring their drivers to arrive at their pick-up location rested, with a full tank of fuel and with enough DOT hours to travel 200 miles.

By “Move Ahead” Staff