The holiday shipping season is historically one of the most dangerous times for cargo theft, according to the logistics security services provider FreightWatch International.

It warns this year, the holidays pose an added risk since both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Thursday, complicating business schedules on Friday, likely leaving more opportunity for shipments to be left unattended or parked in unsecured locations.

“In addition to the usual spike in trailer and container thefts during the holidays, it is not uncommon to see a spike in facility thefts as well,” FreightWatch said in a bulletin issued Friday. “Facilities that sit full of merchandise awaiting the empty shelves that will follow holiday sales provide rich targets for cargo thieves. Moreover, these facilities tend to have fewer personnel over the extended holiday.”

Among the high value thefts FreightWatch has recorded during the Christmas holiday season over the past few years:

  • A full truckload of shingles stolen in Houston, Texas;
  • A facility burglary of name-brand purses, shoes, and jewelry stolen from City of Industry, California, valued at $1.5 million;
  • A facility burglary of cell phones in Doral, Florida;
  • A full truckload of shoes and clothing in Ontario, California valued at $1 million; and
  • A full truckload of Cosmetics taken from Secaucus, New Jersey.

FreightWatch recommends logistics and security people should confirm holiday hours of operations to mitigate any unforeseen shipping delays, as well as to ensure security protocols are up to date and in line with industry best practices for both in transit and warehouse operations. It also advises the use of covert GPS tracking with an active monitoring program is vital to mitigate threats and to help the recovery process in the event of a theft.