Cargo theft activity expected to pick up over Memorial Day weekend

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 25, 2022:

Cargo theft expected to increase over holiday weekend

Cargo theft recording firm CargoNet expects a significant threat to freight transportation this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

CargoNet reviewed theft data from 2017 to 2021 for the Thursday prior to Memorial Day to the Wednesday after in order to help supply chain professionals mitigate theft.

There were 144 events reported with an average of 29 events per year. The stolen cargo in each event was worth an average of $298,328 -- due in part to five thefts that exceeded $1 million in property stolen.

Twenty-one percent of recorded thefts occurred on Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and a significant amount of thefts also occurred on Sunday (16%) and Monday (15%), the firm found.

Food and beverage items were the most stolen, and cargo thieves targeted a wide range of products in this category. The most common were alcoholic beverages, seafood products and meat products. Electronics were not a significant target in previous years, but such shipments are considerably more attractive this upcoming holiday due to supply chain disruptions, CargoNet added.

Theft activity in the first quarter of 2022 was just over 15% higher than pre-pandemic levels, and CargoNet’s analysts expect theft activity to remain elevated this Memorial Day weekend.

“We continue to be concerned about the increase in rail thefts and targeting of computer electronics shipments shipping from California, as well as a breakout of full truckload cargo thefts spreading across the eastern half of the United States,” the firm said.

In previous years, household goods and food and beverage items were the most commonly targeted commodities. This would include items like appliances, toys, alcoholic beverages and seafood. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shortages and price inflation of specific goods, and CargoNet believes the items most affected -- like baby formula and computer electronics -- are the items most at-risk over Memorial Day weekend.

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Carriers and others in the supply chain can mitigate the risk of theft by arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments, embedding covert tracking devices in the shipment, and using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries, CargoNet said. Additionally, drivers should adhere to the "red zone" rule and avoid stopping within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them.

Fuel prices see slight decline, despite falling East Coast inventories

Diesel fuel prices were on the downswing across most of the United States during the week ending May 23, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

According to EIA, diesel’s national average dropped by 4.2 cents to $5.57 per gallon. The decrease was spurred by declines in all regions across the country except the Rocky Mountain region and California, which saw increases of 3 cents and 2.5 cents, respectively.

The largest decreases were seen in the Gulf Coast and New England regions, where prices dropped by 7.9 cents and 6 cents, respectively.

The nation's most expensive diesel can be found in California at $6.50 per gallon, followed by New England at $6.37 per gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.22 per gallon, followed by the Midwest region at $5.29.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA, are:

  • Central Atlantic -- $6.33
  • Lower Atlantic -- $5.57
  • Rocky Mountain -- $5.50
  • West Coast less California -- $5.60

For more on refining capacity and shortages on the East Coast, read this story, published today. 

ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices stay mostly flat, falling by 0.8 cents, bringing its national average to $5.49 per gallon.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $6.44 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.23 per gallon. 

Bendix hosting ride-and-drive event at Talladega

Bendix will hold a regional Ride-and-Drive technology demonstration next month at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, as part of the 2022 season of its popular demo program.

The event will be held June 7-8 and is open to any fleets and dealers in the demo area, as well as drivers and driver trainers.

Advanced registration is requested. Fleets and owner-operators should register using the links below. 

Bendix will demonstrate the full spectrum of its tractor- and trailer-based safety technologies, including the flagship advanced driver assistance system, Bendix Wingman Fusion; truck, tractor and trailer stability technologies; and the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake. The 2022 program will also showcase the Bendix Intellipark Electronic Parking Brake technology, as well as SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS, updates to the Bendix BlindSpotter side object detection system, and more.

Landstar named Fortune 500 company

Landstar System (CCJ Top 250, No. 9) has been named for the first time to the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations by revenue.

With revenue of approximately $6.5 billion in fiscal year 2021, an annual record for the company, Landstar debuted at number 491 on the list.

“The consistent strength and depth of the Landstar network is what earned the company this prestigious ranking,” said Landstar President and CEO Jim Gattoni. “The ability of our independent agents and employees to scale operations and adjust to the marketplace, the power of our unique capacity network to execute, and our innovative digital tools that facilitate efficiency in freight transportation management combined flawlessly to achieve remarkable performance.”

The ranking reflects Landstar’s record-setting growth in 2021, and is also a testament to the company’s business model that has proven successful for decades, Landstar said.

Since its initial public offering in March 1993, Landstar annual revenue has increased more than 500%, and the company has achieved a total shareholder return compound annual growth rate through May 20, 2022 of approximately 17%.

“On behalf of Landstar’s leadership team, I congratulate everyone who has contributed to Landstar’s success,” Gattoni added. “We thank all of our independent agencies, owner-operators leased to Landstar, approved third-party carriers, customers and employees who have helped us accomplish this milestone. Making the Fortune 500 was truly a team effort.”