Cargo thefts cost everyone along the supply chain – so we all have a desire to plug the gap. The good news is that according to CargoNet statistics, thefts are dropping in the U.S.A and Canada. However, while they point out that 2017 was one of the safest years on record there were still 741 recorded thefts with an average value of $196,109. That is an eye-watering $145m in losses.

At White Oak we support loss prevention and believe that communication from policyholder through to underwriter is a key driver in plugging the gaps. This is why we are members of CargoNet who specialise in reducing cargo thefts and improving recovery.

CargoNet is an all-inclusive membership program providing a unique layered approach to cargo security with proactive deterrence and prevention methods, extensive recovery assistance, and coordinated theft communications, combined with education, awareness and cargo theft trend analytics. At White Oak we want to see a continued reduction in theft, it benefits us all.

What kind of cargo theft do you need to be looking out for?

Knowing your carrier

Cyber thieves hit the headlines in many other sectors but make no mistake they are in the cargo arena. The typical scam involves online identity theft. After stealing a firm’s identity thieves use the cover to arrange to haul a load and are then never seen again. These can be very sophisticated cyber operations planned over many months and involving many touch points in the supply chain.

Other thieves take a simpler approach, again disguising themselves as a known carrier. They then advise that they are turning up early before the true carrier is due to make the collection. Of course, the results are the same as the cyber scam even if the methods are a little more analogue.

Some cargo thieves even set up real trucking firms and haul several loads before suffering a breakdown followed by a theft from a third party. Thus, giving the impression that they were the victims when they were part of the scam.

Being vigilant

Unattended cargo trucks and trailers are an easy target. Thieves will either hook up their own tractor units or simply steal the entire unit. Hot spots for theft include truck stops and large distribution facilities. In addition, CargoNet identifies warehouses and fenced yards as the high-risk locations for thefts. The type of cargo is also important with Food and Beverage (22%), particularly meat and alcohol being the most popular.

CargoNet statistics show that 37% of thefts occur where cargo is left unattended for a number of days, particularly over weekends. This is compounded where there is no electronic tagging or surveillance to determine when the loss happened.

Top risk management tips

  1. Have robust due diligence procedures to ensure that you know the identity of all third parties. This is particularly important when dealing with new carriers and drivers.


  1. Implement strict identification procedures within a framework that is communicated across your supply chain.


  1. Where possible, remove stops that are unnecessary. Keep cargo moving, as the saying goes – cargo at rest is cargo at risk. During planned stops use secure locations when parking up.


  1. We recommend our clients make the best use of use CargoNet because of their experience in loss prevention, recovery and coordinated theft communications. More information about the benefits and success stories is available on their website here.


  1. Be vigilant and understand when the risks are highest. Ensure that when cargo is left unattended, especially when this is for a number of days, security measures are at their highest. For example, use high-security locks and tracking devices.

Want to know more?

CargoNet provides a wealth of information including:

  1. A guide to avoiding fictitious pick up.
  2. Driver advisory safety and security tips.

Or you can visit

Written by Jon Sitwell, Head of Claims and Compliance