Week in Review: Cargo Crooks, Cold Chains, Counterfeits & More

June 20, 2024

July 2, 2024


x min read

Imagine a world in which every shift in our global markets not only counters crime—it also champions sustainability. That’s this week in a nutshell. The U.S. is stepping up its game with a new $2 million task force dedicated to putting the brakes on cargo theft—a big win for safety and costs. Meanwhile, a revealing study points out that smarter cold storage could dramatically slash global food waste. That said, cutting emissions without ignoring local needs is a complex balance. Across the pond, UPS Healthcare is supercharging its European operations—making sure life-saving biopharma products travel under the safest conditions while also staying green. And as we tackle counterfeit drugs and forced labor, new regulations and technologies are making the global marketplace a fairer and safer place to trade. Let’s dig in!

New Federal Task Force to Combat Cargo Theft: A $2 Million Commitment

Cargo theft has been a mounting concern across the U.S., affecting both the safety of truck drivers and the cost of consumer goods. Real-time transportation visibility helps, but it needs support. In a move recognizing the urgency of this issue, Congress recently approved a $2 million investment to establish a new Supply Chain Fraud and Theft Task Force.  

Strengthening Security: The Role of the New Task Force

Understandably, the American Trucking Association (ATA)  is in high spirits about this new task force. Beyond the $2 million earmarked to combat cargo theft, the potential to directly confront organized crime rings that prey on the billions of tons of goods shipped by the trucking industry nationwide is long overdue. Led by Rep. David Valadao (CA) and backed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), this task force could also leverage its significant cross-border authority to bring unprecedented effectiveness to fighting crime.

Collaboration & Prevention: Protecting Our Supply Chains

This task force is unique because it focuses on collaboration to prevent theft: it unites state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies—and the private sector—and leverages combined expertise and resources to disrupt criminal networks, reduce theft-related violence, and strengthen America’s supply chains.

Cold Chain Upgrades: A Double-Edged Sword in Global Food Sustainability

Despite 800 million people battling hunger daily, the U.S. wastes loads of food. This new study sheds light on a promising yet complex solution: upgrading cold storage technology.  

The Promise: Slashing Food Waste & Emissions

The study, spearheaded by researchers at the University of Michigan, unveils the striking potential of enhanced refrigeration systems to cut global food waste nearly in half—from 1.3 billion metric tons to 620 million. This translates to a substantial 41% reduction in associated greenhouse gas emissions. Imagine the 1.8 gigatons of CO2-equivalent emissions we could save while making a tangible impact on global warming and food insecurity.

The Complexity: Local Needs vs. Global Benefits

However, looking deeper into regional data reveals unequal benefits of refrigeration. In places like South and Southeast Asia, optimized cold chains could drastically reduce losses of fruits, cereals, and dairy—slashing food waste by 45%. Meanwhile, in Africa, similar improvements could see a 47% reduction, particularly in meat and tubers. That said, it can be challenging to balance the benefits of energy with local impacts and emission tradeoffs. For instance, reducing meat waste is important for lowering emissions (as meat losses make up 50% of the food system’s emissions), but focusing on reducing waste of fruits and vegetables—which account for 30% of food losses—could more directly combat hunger, albeit with less impact on emissions.

UPS Healthcare's Bold Move: Expanding Pharma Logistics Capabilities in Europe

Have you ever wondered how the most sensitive biopharma products stay fresh during transit to your local clinic? UPS Healthcare aims to do exactly this by expanding its Roermond, Netherlands, European hub.

Boosting Storage & Energy Efficiency

At the Roermond facility, space is both expanding and evolving. The hub now boasts over 200 ultra-low temperature freezers, capable of chilling essential biopharma products to a frosty -80°C. Approximately 3,200 new pallet positions are now available for products requiring in-transit temperatures between 2°C and 8°C. And while they're keeping things cool, they're also going green. The addition of 2,500 solar panels powers the facility and feeds surplus energy back to the grid. Not only could this cover the annual power usage of over 450 households, but it also aligns with UPS's goals of hitting 25% renewable electricity by 2025—and 100% by 2035.

Closing the Loop on Healthcare Logistics

UPS's Roermond moves also bring next-generation treatments closer to patients with unprecedented speed and safety. Positioned strategically near Cologne Bonn Airport—as well as major ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp—the Roermond hub brings together a network that spans over 17 million ft² globally. With the biologic therapeutic drug delivery market potentially exploding to $615 billion by 2029, UPS Healthcare has a golden opportunity at hand.

Unmasking the Shadows: Tackling Counterfeits in the Pharmaceutical World

Rampant counterfeit issues and product diversion plague today’s pharmaceutical industry. Medicines that consumers trust could potentially harm rather than heal, and we have our work cut out for us.

The Sobering Reality of Fake Pharmaceuticals

Counterfeit drugs are not just cheap knockoffs: they're dangerous fakes that can lead to serious health problems or even death. The WHO estimates that the counterfeit drug market generates nearly €400 billion (about $435 billion) annually and accounts for up to 5.8% of all imports into the European Union. This problem is borderless and impacts people everywhere—and is driven by an increase in online shopping. Challenges range from fake online pharmacies to major platforms unable to control fraudulent sellers. For instance, due to its recent hype as a weight loss drug, counterfeit versions of Ozempic are increasingly infesting the market—propelled by high demand and scarce supply.

Strategies to Shield Against Fakes

To effectively tackle the menace of counterfeit drugs, the pharmaceutical industry needs a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond a single-fix approach. By assigning unique identifiers to each product—known as serialization—companies can track items throughout the supply chain, ensuring that only legitimate products make it through. On top of that, embracing technologies such as AI and machine learning can help spot even the smallest signs of tampering, keeping companies one step ahead of counterfeiters. There’s also a critical need for education; healthcare professionals and patients must learn the risks associated with counterfeit drugs, and the importance of obtaining medications from trusted sources.  

The New Normal: The Impact of the EU's Forced Labor Ban on Supply Chains

With the European Parliament recently banning all products made with forced labor, businesses are scrambling to adapt and revamp their strategies.

Rethinking Compliance: A Deep Dive into Supply Chain Transparency

Businesses must now examine their supply chains with a magnifying glass because, under this new law, authorities can scrutinize and halt the sale and shipment of any goods tied to forced labor. For companies, this means peeling back layers of their supply networks for full compliance—not just at the surface but deep into the multi-tiered global labyrinth of suppliers. Judith Richardson, Head of Sustainability at Argon & Co, emphasizes thoroughly understanding and auditing these networks to manage risks—and to maintain trust across the value chain.

Strategic Adaptation: Facing the Future of Ethical Supply Chains

How are firms adjusting their operational strategies in response to the ban? Many in high-risk sectors like fast fashion need to reconsider their operations due to regulatory pressures and changing consumer expectations. While it presents challenges, it also offers opportunities for innovation in sustainability practices, such as using reclaimed materials and improving responsible labor practices.

Shaping Tomorrow: Tive's Tech Transforms Today's Supply Chains

In a world where every shipment counts—from thwarting cargo thieves to managing pharmaceutical integrity—Tive steps in to change the equation. Here's how:

  • Trackers: Revolutionize your shipment tracking with Tive's advanced Solo 5G tracker and the newly released Tive Solo Lite—offering real-time location and condition monitoring for the security and integrity of your cargo.
  • Tive Tag: Enhance perishable shipment protection with Tive Tag—an affordable and reusable paper-thin temperature logger—to verify that your goods have remained pristine throughout transit.
  • Platform: Streamline your supply chain management with Tive's intuitive cloud platform, offering comprehensive visibility, analytics, and integration capabilities for seamless shipment tracking and monitoring.
  • Industries: Tive caters to a diverse range of industries, ensuring tailored solutions for unique supply chain challenges—from perishables to high-value goods to transportation and logistics to pharmaceuticals… and beyond.
  • 24/7 Live Monitoring Team: This team is available to help ensure that your shipments are constantly watched over and managed—to guarantee timely and secure delivery.

Arm yourself with innovation: let Tive lead the way in transforming your supply chain operations. Embrace the future of logistics–get started with Tive today.

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