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Holiday Electronics Shipping: How to Keep Shipments Safe & Secure

November 17, 2023

February 5, 2024

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x min read

As the holiday season draws near, shippers and freight forwarders face a hidden yet escalating challenge: a 59% spike in cargo theft in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2023—leading to 692 incidents and losses exceeding $31 million. 

But if we take a step back and look at the overall trend in cargo theft, we find one type of product increasingly at the heart of these thefts: electronics. In Q3 2021, 18% of all cargo thefts targeted electronics, and by 2022, they became the second most stolen commodity. One startling instance saw over $350,000 of computer electronics stolen in San Francisco last July 4th.  

Shippers must prepare: higher freight shipping volumes during holidays correlate with a rise in cargo theft. Yet, there’s hope. Real-time visibility, empowered by end-to-end advanced shipment tracking and monitoring, is becoming a game-changer in protecting high-value shipments like electronics. Especially during peak season. By staying a step ahead with these technologies, we can protect valuable cargo and significantly deter theft.

This article takes an even deeper dive. From unpacking the trends of electronics shipping thefts to exploring the role of technology in combating this issue, you'll learn how to put your best foot forward—and keep shipments safe and secure this holiday season.

Cargo at Rest is Cargo at Risk

Let's first focus on some critical yet often overlooked aspects of holiday shipping: the increased risk of theft for idle shipments during delays and balancing the safety and integrity of high-value cargo.

The Heightened Risk of Theft for Idle Shipments During Holiday Delays

The holiday season brings a notable rise in shipment theft risk. CargoNet corroborates this and reports an average of 37 theft events occurring between December 23 to January 2 over the past 5 years, with each stolen shipment averaging $151,199. But, for shipments delayed during holidays—sitting idle—the risks become magnified. Why? 

  • Overwhelmed shipping systems: The holiday season's spike in shipping volume leads to an influx of packages in transit—overwhelming carriers. This spike increases the likelihood of lost, damaged, or stolen packages.
  • Extensive handling and transfers: Packages navigate through a wide variety of distribution centers, warehouses, and trucks, increasing the chance of mishandling, damage, and theft at each transfer point.
  • Rushed delivery schedules: The holiday rush compels carriers to deliver more packages quickly, often compromising on careful handling and elevating the theft risk.
  • Targeted by thieves: Knowing that valuable items are often shipped during the holidays, porch pirates and other thieves target unattended packages as easy pickings.
  • Sorting errors and unsecured locations: The surge in shipments can lead to misrouting and sorting errors, further compounded by the risk of theft in high-risk areas like parking lots and unsecured yards—where trucks and cargo are more vulnerable.  

Holiday Shipping 101: Protecting Your Cargo from All Angles

Valuable cargo like electronics are not only vulnerable to theft but also to damage from shock, light exposure, and unfavorable conditions such as excess humidity. However, the concern extends beyond electronics. High-value items including luxury handbags and temperature-sensitive products, such as cosmetics, also require meticulous handling and specific environmental conditions to maintain their integrity. Balancing cargo security, as well as protecting shipments from environmental harm, is a multifaceted challenge. This complex task calls for implementing top-notch logistics practices, ensuring everything arrives in perfect condition during the busiest shipping season of the year.

Real-Time Visibility’s Role in Protecting Electronics Cargo & Deterring Theft

Real-time visibility is revolutionizing electronics shipping, offering much more than cargo monitoring. It's about actively protecting and deterring theft. Using innovative tracking technologies from companies including Tive, shippers and freight forwarders are stepping up to safeguard valuable cargo. Let's take a closer look at how. 

Enhancing Cargo Security with Advanced Tracking

Real-time trackers are pivotal in ensuring that shipments—from origin to delivery—are constantly monitored, significantly reducing the likelihood of theft. These trackers do more than track; they keep cargo moving and minimize delays, which often double as windows of opportunity for thieves. By providing hyper-accurate location and condition tracking, solutions like Tive trackers become essential tools in the arsenal for securing cargo. The trackers’ ability to detect light exposure is particularly noteworthy, as it can signal unauthorized access to containers or packages—prompting immediate action to prevent theft. 

Mitigating Risks During High-Pressure Seasons

The holidays are a high-stakes period for shipping electronics, with amplified risks. Real-time visibility is crucial in mitigating these risks, especially in electronics shipping. By continuously monitoring conditions and location, these tracking systems enable logistics professionals to address issues promptly—ensuring the integrity of their supply chains. This vigilance is invaluable in maintaining the safety and quality of high-value electronics during transit, especially when the pressure is on and the risk of theft spikes. With these advanced tracking capabilities, shippers and freight forwarders can navigate the holiday season more confidently and securely.

Securing Your Cargo During the Holiday Rush: The Power of Real-Time Visibility

With the holiday season approaching, the risk of cargo theft skyrockets. The alarming statistics speak volumes: a 59% increase in cargo theft in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2023 alone, leading to staggering losses. Electronics have become particularly vulnerable, and now rank as the second most stolen commodity.

But there's hope on the horizon with real-time visibility tools like Tive's advanced tracking and monitoring solutions. These tools do more than track shipments; they actively deter theft by reducing delays and keeping cargo moving. Features such as hyper-accurate location tracking and light exposure detection are game changers—alerting to potential thefts and ensuring the safety of electronics, luxury goods, and cosmetics alike.

As we gear up for the busiest shipping time of the year, embracing these innovative real-time visibility solutions is key to safeguarding your cargo. Ready to revolutionize your logistics? Get started with Tive today and gain more insights by downloading our white paper, "Combating Peak Season Cargo Theft with Real-Time Visibility.”

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