Cargo Signal Blog

Improve Freight Security: How Sensor-Based Logistics Prevents Theft in Real-Time



Your Cargo Is More Vulnerable to Theft Than You May Think 


When you ship freight, you expect it to arrive safe and sound. But that isn’t always guaranteed. Freight often has to pass through unavoidable high-risk zones, where crime is common, before reaching its final destination. The truth is that once a shipment leaves your sight, it has the potential to fall vulnerable to any number of threats–especially theft.  

You may think that if your cargo is being transported by a reliable carrier, it’s safe. But even the most experienced driver will need to pull over to eat, rest, or perform routine maintenance on the way to their destination. What if they linger at the wrong truckstop too long and leave their freight unattended? What if they pull over roadside to stretch their legs and forget to lock up? What if they look the wrong way while parked at the drop lot? Experienced thieves are waiting for just the right moment to take advantage of the situation.  

Recent statistics from the logistics space show just how vulnerable cargo is in transit and how costly theft can be for your business: 

  • $30 billion of cargo is stolen worldwide every year 
  • 71% - 87% of global cargo theft happens when cargo is in transit 
  • Since 2020, the average value of goods stolen in transit in the United States has tripled
  • In 2022, in the United States alone, there were 214 reported cargo thefts, each one averaging a financial loss of $371,369 


Where Traditional Freight Security Measures Fall Short 


Until very recently, it’s been understood that companies have two options when it comes to freight security: 

  • 1) The high-end option: Hire security personnel to escort your cargo from origin to destination. 

This option isn’t only expensive, it’s inconvenient. It can be hard to coordinate personnel alongside your shipping schedule. And you might not even get exactly what you think you’re paying for. Those available for hire are rarely active duty law enforcement, meaning they’ll be limited to observing and reporting. If your cargo is hijacked, that won’t do you much good. 

  • 2) The low-end option: Lock your truck doors shut with metal, cable, wire, or plastic security seals 

Under the right circumstances, a determined thief will break the seal–no matter the material. In that instance, when your cargo reaches a milestone checkpoint, you’ll know if your freight has been breached. But by then it may have already made it halfway or more to your destination, you’ll have sunk time and cost into manually inspecting your freight along the way, and in the end all you’ll be left with is the knowledge that your freight is missing.  

Regardless of the above methods you choose, you’ll be devoting a significant amount of time, money, and/or  energy toward protecting your freight, without any guarantee that you’ll see a return on your investment.  



The Cargo Signal Solution 


The IoT-powered sensors that Cargo Signal attaches to global freight track real-time data about shipments, providing end-to-end visibility, security, and quality control. Our technology is supported by a Command Center staffed by logistics professionals who monitor your shipments around the clock, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

With Cargo Signal, there’s no need to deal with escorts or seals. Our sensors can be attached at the box-, pallet-, container-, trailer-, or truck-level, allowing you to personally keep an eye on your shipments in real time.   

Whether your shipments are awaiting pickup in the warehouse or in transit toward their destination, you’ll have eyes on their status. If your cargo has been tampered with or opened, fallen vulnerable to theft due to increased dwell time, or if the carrier has deviated from the planned route, you’ll receive an alert, and our 24/7 Command Center–with diverse military, law enforcement, and insurance backgrounds– who will intervene to solve the problem for you. 


Ditch Outdated Security Measures and Automate Your Freight Security 


Hiring escorts to keep watch over your shipments or placing protective seals on your trailers both fail to live up to their security promises. The former is expensive and impractical and the latter is easily defeated and relies on inefficient manual procedures. And both options are prone to human error.  

If freight is compromised and doesn’t arrive on time, it could lead to severe downstream effects like costly reorders and supplemental shipping costs, cancellation or postponement of scheduled major events or conferences, and irreversible damage to company reputation.  

With Cargo Signal, you don’t have to worry about that. Our sensors are a cost-effective, turnkey solution to freight security that automatically begin protecting your freight, from point of origin to destination, the moment they are placed.  

Once you’ve attached the devices, you have instant access to your shipment’s status–whether in transit or stationary. You can choose to log in to our platform at any time and monitor your shipment’s location, condition, and security. But that doesn’t mean you have to be constantly watching. If your shipment is threatened, an alert will be generated and sent to you and your chosen stakeholders, informing you of the event. Our Security Alerts can be customized to be sent upon the following circumstances: 

  • Your carrier’s container or trailer door is opened/closed 
  • Your shipments are tampered with or mishandled  
  • A carrier diverges from the predetermined route 
  • A carrier has remained stationary for an unauthorized amount of time 

When you receive an alert, you can troubleshoot the problem yourself or you can rely on our Command Center, who are trained in responding to emergency situations, to handle it for you. In the case of theft, our Command Center will sound the alarm on your behalf, contact the authorities, and connect you to local resources to take immediate action, stop the robbery in progress, and recover the stolen goods.  

With Cargo Signal, you can rest easy knowing that your freight is secured by a technology that never sleeps and serviced by a reliable team of logistics professionals who pride themselves in never taking their watchful eye off your shipments.  


Cargo Signal Can Help You: 


  • Muscle up your security with a platform that helps you navigate high-risk areas and provides you with your own personal strategic defense team 
  • Decrease losses, alerting you directly of the exact moment and location in which your freight has been compromised 
  • Strengthen your security with a platform that sends you automated updates about the condition of your freight and provides a 24/7 team ready to intervene if a problem arises 
  • Respond in real-time to any threats to your shipments
  • Gain access to local and global assistance, when and where you need it, with our 300 offices worldwide

If you want to improve your supply chain performance using sensor-based logistics, Cargo Signal is a great option. Contact a representative today and request a demo to get started. 

Download Cargo Signal's free Guide to IoT E-book here.