Cargo theft, up 41% so far this year, expected to rise for Memorial Day

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 24, 2023:

Cargo theft expected to rise more over holiday weekend

CargoNet Memorial Day 2023 graphicCargoNet included records of property theft -- stolen cargo or stolen trucking vehicles -- from the Thursday before Memorial Day to the Wednesday after from 2018 to 2022 to compile its cargo theft trends for the holiday.CargoNetCargo theft has already seen a significant increase so far in 2023, and cargo theft recording firm CargoNet is warning truck drivers and others in the supply chain that the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend is likely see an even greater uptick in theft activity.

CargoNet said that in the first 20 weeks of 2023, there have been more than 900 reports of theft, fraud, and other kinds of criminal activity in the supply chain -- a 41% increase from 2022. Since November, CargoNet has been tracking a sharp rise in highly technical shipment misdirection fraud schemes across the United States. Fictitious pickup and fraud complaints are 675% higher in the first 20 weeks of 2023 compared to the first 20 weeks of 2022.

Most of the misdirection fraud has taken place in California, the firm said, but some shipments have shipped from other states and have been misdirected to California. Southern California fictitious pickup groups have shown a preference for shipments of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, solar panels, and vehicle accessories like vehicle batteries, motor oils, tires, and auto parts. Monday and Friday were the most common days for fictitious pickups to occur.

CargoNet is also concerned about heightened trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in the Eastern half of the United States, including:

  • Full trailer theft activity from organized cargo theft groups from South Florida that surveil warehouses across the Eastern seaboard or Midwest and follow outbound shipments until the driver leaves the trailer unattended.
  • Full trailer theft activity in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area.
  • Trailer burglary in the Chicagoland area, especially around Bolingbrook, Illinois
  • Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
  • Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in Philadelphia.

Regarding Memorial Day weekend specifically, CargoNet over the last five years has seen a rise in theft incidents during the holiday period. For drivers, the firm said all trailers – loaded and unloaded – should be secured with high-security barrier seals in combination with hardened padlocks, as well as kingpin locks for unattached trailers. Unattended tractors should be secured with high-security locking devices, such as air-cuff and steering column locks.

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St. Paul will hear proposal to ban truck parking

A proposal to ban truck parking in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, will be heard by the city council this afternoon. 

The proposed ordinance, which mirrors one currently in place in twin city Minneapolis, prohibits vehicles over 26,000 pounds from parking on any city street unless engaged in loading/unloading or providing a service; prohibits commercial vehicles and vehicles over 10,000 pounds from parking in residential zoning districts; and implements an elevated citation fee ($150 starting January 2024 then $250 starting July 2024). 

"The proposed ordinance will reduce overall efficiency and cut into precious available driving hours for truck drivers forced to park outside of St. Paul," the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) said in a statement. "It is a simple fact that to meet narrow pick-up and delivery windows, trucks need to park close to their St. Paul customers. When Minneapolis passed a similar ordinance some drivers were forced to park in remote fee-based lots as far away as St. Cloud."

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), 98% of truck drivers regularly experience difficulties finding safe parking — a sharp uptick from the 75% figure reported just four years earlier. USDOT also found that the truck parking shortage exists in every state and region. Year after year, truck drivers have indicated that the parking shortage is one of the top three challenges they face, rising to number one in 2022.

Despite repeated requests during the recently completed legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature failed to appropriate funds to expand truck parking. 

Progressive Insurance offering roadside assistance

Progressive Insurance is now offering Heavy Truck Roadside Assistance (HT RSA) as an optional coverage to its commercial auto customers.

A direct response to market research on preferred truck coverage needs, HT RSA helps cover the cost of towing and labor at the site of disablement. In collaboration with TTN Fleet Solutions, which operates an extensive network of heavy-duty service providers, Progressive can now offer roadside assistance coverage in most policy states to commercial auto customers with heavy vehicles, including tractor-trailers, dump trucks, straight trucks and more. 

Covered customers simply have to call Progressive's roadside number to connect with TTN Fleet Solutions, which will dispatch a qualified service provider to the site of disablement. This process saves time in finding a qualified provider and removes the need to file for reimbursement after the fact. 

Heavy Truck Roadside Assistance can be used throughout the United States and in 10 Canadian provinces, regardless of the policy state, and the coverage is available to local, regional and long-haul truckers. 

The HT RSA coverage includes the following:

  • Covers up to $500 in labor at the site of disablement and up to $5,000 in towing to the nearest qualified repair facility for the insured vehicle and attached trailer ($250 deductible applies at time of service) 
  • Covers insured vehicle and the attached trailer 
  • Covers mechanical or electrical breakdown, battery failure, flat tire, lock-out, insufficient fuel/fluid, or entrapment in snow, mud, water, or sand within 100 feet of a road 
  • Covers up to three roadside incidents per insured vehicle per six-month period 

Heavy Truck Roadside Assistance is available for eligible customers and vehicles in most policy states, with plans to be available across the continental United States, including Alaska by the end of 2023. In policy states where available, all heavy vehicles covered by Progressive Commercial are eligible except motorhomes, ice cream trucks and buses. 

PGT Trucking recognizes safe drivers

PGT Trucking (CCJ Top 250, No. 93) recently recognized 50 Million-Mile Drivers, 100 Safe Drivers and 25 Premier Professionals at the company’s annual awards event held at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on May 20.

"Annually, this event recognizes the proudest of the proud professionals, our Million Mile and Safe Drivers," said Pat Gallagher, PGT Trucking CEO. "By achieving the criteria necessary to be eligible for these prestigious awards, they are acknowledged as the very pinnacle of what it takes to make this company successful. Without their efforts and attention to detail regarding safety, PGT Trucking would never have achieved 42 years in business."

PGT's Safe Drivers have driven for the company for more than five years, but less than one million miles, without a safety incident. Million Mile Drivers have accomplished their status by driving one million miles or more without a safety incident. PGT's Premier Professionals are the safest and most reliable drivers in the company's fleet, and they maintain superior performance levels at all times, the company said.

PGT has recognized its Million Mile and Safe Drivers for more than 20 years, and the Million Mile and Safe Driver Celebration is the leading event for PGT drivers, office staff and their guests.

The top award winners for the evening include Lindsay Brown, Terminal Manager of the Year; Mike Rowley, recipient of the Hobert Hill Award for Agent of the Year; Caitlin Svetahor, recipient of the Bill Wright Award for Team Player of the Year; Sharyn Stewart, PGT MVP of the Year; Kathy Happ, recipient of the President's Award; William "BJ" Brett, Safety Professional of the Year; Jeremy Reitmeyer, recipient of the David Levin Award for Company Driver of the Year; Michael Burns, recipient of the Harry "Buster" Barnes Award for Independent Contractor of the Year; Jack Blystone, Rookie Driver of the Year; Richie Short, Certified PRO Trainer of the Year; and Craig Marple, recipient of the Terry "Kuz" Kusniar Award for Premier Professional Driver of the Year.

PGT also inducted 10 new Million Mile Drivers, including Susan Bailing, Mark Barr, Stephen Corfee, Baron Gochenour, James Harr Jr., Tim Hearn, Ricky Lewis, William Redding, Michael Silvis and Michael Stall.

Geodis acquires drayage provider

Transport and logistics firm Geodis announced Tuesday it has acquired Southern Companies, a drayage provider based in the U.S. that handles all phases of the import and export process. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition enhances Geodis’ end-to-end supply chain capabilities across the U.S.

Southern Companies is a family-owned business founded in Miami in 1965 and has moved more than 1 million containers. The company runs operating terminals serving seven key ports: Port of Miami, Port of Everglades, Port of Houston, Port of Jacksonville, Port of Tampa, Port of Savannah and Port of Charleston.

Southern Companies provides a range of import and export services, including warehousing and trucking, to ensure customer goods are moving swiftly through the supply chain.

"The acquisition of Southern Companies represents an important addition to Geodis as we continue to strengthen and grow our capabilities, our team and our client roster throughout the U.S.,” said Mike Honious, Geodis in Americas President & CEO. “Southern Companies has been a leader in drayage services, from warehousing to trucking, for nearly six decades and operates in ports that are critical to our clients. From their people and culture to their expertise and capabilities, Southern Companies is an ideal fit for Geodis and aligns perfectly with our Americas growth strategy.”

More than 80 employees spanning Southern Companies’ seven facilities throughout the Southeast will officially join Geodis. With its Americas region headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Geodis currently operates more than 150 warehouse facilities for its clients with over 50 million square feet of warehousing space in the U.S. alone. Geodis now has more than 17,000 employees across North America.