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Maintaining Freight Security During the Holidays

Jul 1, 2021

Freight security within the supply chain industry is both complex and crucial. Fortunately for shippers, 3PLs can do the heavy lifting to ensure shipments are secure, especially during longer holiday periods.

Before Freight Pick-up

Freight security starts long before cargo is transported; this is essential to maintaining security throughout any freight’s journey. It all begins by utilizing a stringent carrier vetting process. To provide safe equipment options, 3PLs thoughtfully vet their carrier networks to ensure their shippers are paired with trustworthy and reliable carriers that will deliver their freight properly.

According to CargoNet, a national data-sharing system to combat cargo theft, 134 events of cargo theft were recorded in the previous five Labor Day holidays, with such theft activity being the highest in 2020. Experienced 3PLs have databases that provide additional carrier background information and employ a “Do Not Load” list for unique circumstances before partnering with specific carriers. The carrier networks that 3PLs utilize to coordinate a shipper’s freight is vital in providing shippers with viable and safe options.


At NTG, we take freight security seriously year-round, while making it a main focus around the holidays. We know shipments are more vulnerable during those periods, so we take extra precaution with our shippers and carrier partners to ensure the safety of each shipment before pick-up to delivery.

Michael Grace, Vice President of Risk Management & Compliance.


In Transit

During transit, freight is especially vulnerable to theft. Shippers need to be mindful and take extra precautions in keeping detailed records of drivers who pick-up their shipments along with all truck and trailer information. Shippers need to report any unusual differences in pick-up protocols with their 3PL partner immediately upon discovery.

3PLs also work closely with carriers to provide additional knowledge and guidance on freight security. As well, carriers must remain vigilant and alert at all times. Cargo theft often occurs during busier times, as criminals anticipate higher volumes, which provides increased opportunity and vulnerability. In fact, highly populated states, such as Texas, California and Florida, are often targeted more than others. Carriers need to secure all trucks and trailers with high security devices and not let loaded trailers sit unattended during the holidays without 24/7 surveillance and security. Carriers should also utilize team drivers if they are hauling high-value cargo to minimize security risks.  

Freight brokers, or 3PLs, have additional protocols in vetting carriers who are interested in hauling freight around the holidays. Extensive carrier information is recorded and thoroughly checked before carriers are assigned to shipments, including fleet and authority background and previous inspection information.

In the event that cargo theft does occur, time is of the essence. Once the safety of carrier personnel is confirmed, immediate reporting and thorough follow-up vastly improves the potential of locating and recovering stolen freight.

Utilizing advanced technology and experienced partner collaboration is essential in providing safety and security for shipments during long holiday periods. If you haven’t partnered with a 3PL for your holiday shipments, check out our blog on how to vet your 3PL partner.

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