GREEN BAY, WI — Nearly since the invention of numbers, seven has been called a lucky number. For truckload, intermodal and logistics provider Schneider, the good fortune comes in the form of seven straight years of cargo theft decrease—including a sizeable 20-percent drop in 2013.
According to Schneider, the decrease was discovered after freight security authority CargoNet released its yearly U.S. Cargo Theft Report. What CargoNet found is that, for the first time since it began tracking data in 2009, the total number of freight theft incidents decreased. Schneider no doubt contributed to the nine-percent drop CargoNet reported, with the carrier achieving a decline of 91 percent since 2006.
Walter Fountain, Schneider’s Director of Safety and Enterprise Security, attributes the streak of industry-beating cargo-theft-incident rates to the company’s security methods. These include disciplined operating procedure standards, top-notch technology, and proactive communication with shippers and Schneider’s drivers and owner-operators, Fountain said.
Schneider’s security plan has the flexibility to move loads high in value using teams of drivers as opposed to one driver, which Fountain said creates velocity in the supply chain and makes sure freight is always on the move—making it less prone to theft.
“Ours is a three-prong approach,” Fountain added. “We address expectations during onboarding; we regularly communicate the locations and types of thefts that are occurring; and we incorporate cargo theft preventable measures into our quarterly training sessions.”
Fountain also said that implementing Schneider’s pre-notification system might have led to the decline in theft. “Using the company’s new geo-fencing technology, drivers are alerted when they enter an area with higher reports of theft. The system then notifies drivers of safer alternative places to fuel and rest within the area,” he said.
As a result, more Schneider drivers fuel up and rest at the company’s own operating centers and secure truck stops instead of stopping in high-risk areas—leading to a 37 percent decrease in total value per load theft.
Drivers appreciate the extra security, too. Schneider Van-Truckload driver Jim Bosma said that Schneider teaches drivers to do everything to keep folks—including thieves—honest.
“A lazy thief is just trying to get the easiest opportunity, so with these processes and technologies in place, we deter them from carrying out a theft,” Bosma said.
Industry officials are also turning their attention to Schneider’s strategies, looking to expand them further into the transportation industry. CargoNet’s vice president of business development, Sal Marino, noted that cargo security protocols and procedures are not as stringent as they ought to be.
“Schneider, however, clearly understands the value of putting in layers and redundancies in cargo security in order to strengthen their supply chain security program,” Marino said.
Reports by CargoNet and fellow security firms FreightWatch and Supply Chain-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (SC-ISAC) revealed other vital bits of information:
2013 saw a 30 percent increase in food/beverage thefts, the most stolen commodity. Schneider had a decrease in food/beverage thefts.
CargoNet reported that there was also a 44-percent increase in fictitious pickups. Thieves are more likely to target smaller companies lacking dedicated security resources.
2013 also had an alarming 50 percent leap in full-truckload pharmaceutical thefts and an average loss value increase of over 14 percent (Schneider has not suffered such a theft since 2004).