Week in Review: Cargo Thefts, Maritime Crisis & the Pioneers of Tomorrow's Shipping Solutions

February 1, 2024

April 29, 2024


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Welcome to our latest weekly newsletter! In this issue, we start with newly-released CargoNet cargo theft data from 2023 (spoiler alert, it isn’t pretty). We're also zeroing in again on the Red Sea crisis, but this time, we look at the impact on Asian shippers—particularly in food logistics. Plus, don't miss out on how “grip shipping” is making waves with its new, game-changing fulfillment service for e-commerce perishables. And there's more: we've got the inside scoop on the recent spike in train heists—and a look at Maersk's innovative leap into India's cold chain logistics. Let’s dive in!

The Data is In: Cargo Theft Soared Again in 2023

Based on newly-released CargoNet data, 2023 saw another significant and concerning increase in incidents of cargo theft. This trend reflects the challenges faced by the transportation industry—and spotlights the urgency for innovative solutions.

Unprecedented Increase in Cargo Theft Incidents

2023 witnessed a significant escalation in cargo theft, surging over 57% over 2022. Experts including Scott Cornell from Travelers and Keith Lewis of CargoNet highlight an alarming trend, with CargoNet registering over 220 theft events monthly. This upsurge resulted in nearly $130 million in losses, and the real figures are likely higher due to non-mandatory reporting. The first 20 weeks of 2023 alone saw a 41% increase in such incidents, underscoring the accelerating nature of this challenge.

Hot Spots & New Technologies in Focus

California, Texas, and Florida emerged as the top three hot spots for cargo theft in 2023, with rising incidents in inland hubs such as Louisville, Kentucky—and companies are increasingly turning to smart technologies to respond to these incidents. Uber Freight's Lior Ron speaks of a decade-long commitment to developing product-level tracking, emphasizing the importance of visibility across all assets. Innovations offer a glimpse into the future of cargo security by providing instant alerts on unauthorized access and enhancing visibility, monitoring, and intervention capabilities.

Red Sea Disruptions: A Challenge for Asian Shippers, Exporters & Food Logistics

The ongoing Red Sea crisis is reverberating across Europe—and these disturbances are creating equally significant challenges for Asian shippers and exporters, particularly in the food logistics sector.

Impact on Asian Shippers & Food Logistics

The turmoil in the Red Sea has major repercussions for Asian shippers, especially leading up to Chinese New Year. Christian Roeloffs, CEO of Container xChange, highlights the dire situation—noting a drastic rerouting of 70-80% of container traffic, primarily affecting larger carriers. This shift is particularly troubling for the food logistics sector, which relies on timely and efficient transport of its highly-perishable products. The added distance and complexity of rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope are causing significant delays, further straining the already-tight container availability and vessel space. As a result, the food supply chain is facing heightened challenges, including elevated freight rates and disrupted schedules.

Long-Term Outlook for Asian Exporters

Looking past the Chinese New Year, the situation is likely to remain challenging for Asian exporters as the shipping industry braces for blank sailings and lower capacity as carriers adjust their networks. Yet, while high freight rates and increased costs are currently a burden for exporters, there's potential for rate reductions in the future stemming from the structural overcapacity and market imbalance. However,  in the immediate term, problems should continue straining food logistics networks.

Grip Shipping Unveils New Fulfillment Service for Ecommerce Perishables

Grip Shipping, a leader in cold chain technology, is expanding its offerings by launching a new fulfillment service tailored to the perishable ecommerce sector.

Expanding Infrastructure & Enhanced Shipping Solutions

A year after Grip Shipping launched its innovative IT platform, it announced new fulfillment centers in strategic locations across the United States, including Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and California. Founded by ex-ButcherBox executives Juan Meisel and Jimmy Cooper, Grip Shipping says the new service addresses a vital need for perishables direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands—who require a dynamic shipping solution that not only serves customers better but also boosts profit margins.

Impressive Track Record & All-in-One Logistics Solutions

Grip Shipping impressively delivered over $1 billion of ecommerce goods in its inaugural year. Alongside this achievement, they have significantly reduced shipping costs by up to 30%—and reduced shipping failure rates by 25%. Introducing fulfillment services is a strategic move for Grip, helping the company evolve into a one-stop logistics solution. This approach not only streamlines cold chain logistics for perishables, it enables clients to concentrate on innovation and business growth—capitalizing on Grip's expertise.

Unraveling the Modern Train Heists: A Deep Dive into Cargo Theft

As featured in a recent New York Times Magazine piece, the surge in ecommerce has inadvertently sparked a wave of freight train robberies—especially in Los Angeles, the hub of cargo theft. Detective Joe Chavez from the LAPD's Train Burglary Task Force was particularly impacted by Victor Llamas, a standout thief, because of his obsession with the thrill of train heists and his inside knowledge of shipping containers.  

The Scope of Cargo Theft in the US

The U.S. witnesses the movement of approximately 20 million containers annually through its ports, with Los Angeles and Long Beach handling about 35% of all Asian imports. Sadly, this region has become a hot spot for cargo theft, with incidents nearly doubling since 2019. These thefts are not just opportunistic but are often well planned, targeting specific goods and suggesting insider knowledge. The proliferation of ecommerce has exacerbated this issue, with online sales skyrocketing from $5 billion in 1998 to an anticipated $2.5 trillion by 2027. This rapid growth has created numerous vulnerabilities in the supply chain, leaving it ripe for exploitation.

Underlying Challenges in Supply Chain Security

This problem extends beyond the loss of goods; it reflects deeper issues in the global supply chain and law enforcement. Despite the sophistication of locking and tracking technology, many containers are still secured with basic locks—making them easy targets. Further complicating things are the challenges involved with tracking stolen goods, which often re-enter the market through online platforms. The response to these heists involves various stakeholders—including the LAPD's Cargo Theft Unit, private investigators, and insurance companies—all of whom are left grappling with the complexities of modern-day piracy. While thefts from trucks are more common, the focus on railroads—and the efficiency of these theft operations in the wake of ecommerce growth—is disturbing.

Maersk's Major Expansion into India's Cold Chain Logistics

Global shipping giant Maersk is significantly enhancing its cold chain operations with a groundbreaking new facility in India. Moreover, aside from its major geographic expansion, it marks a major step in its commitment to sustainable and efficient logistics solutions.

Innovative Cold Storage Facility in Mehsana

Maersk began constructing a 260,000 square foot cold storage facility in Mehsana, Gujarat, dedicated to serving HyFun Foods. This facility, one of India's largest single-shed cold stores, will feature a 14,700-pallet capacity and be strategically located near the customer’s manufacturing site at the Fanidhar Mega Food Park. Designed to accommodate all cargo in one centralized location, this facility aims to streamline storage for perishable frozen processed food items. Vikash Agarwal, Maersk South Asia's managing director, emphasizes the facility's high standards for temperature compliance and customized solutions—helping ensure the integrity of frozen food items.

Sustainability & End-to-End Logistics Solution

The Mehsana facility is not just about scale; it's a testament to Maersk's commitment to sustainability. The use of ammonia refrigeration—a natural gas with zero global warming potential—alongside high-efficiency compressors and PIR panels for fire resistance and thermal efficiency showcases Maersk's dedication to environmental stewardship. Maersk's new facility also integrates solar energy to meet its 2040 net-zero target—featuring eco-friendly elements like rain harvesting, sewage treatment, and zero discharge, adhering to Green Building standards. It further complements Maersk’s integrated cold chain solution with a seamless logistics chain from manufacturing to export—covering road, rail, port, customs, and ocean transportation.

Wrapping Up This Week's Logistics Insights with Tive

From the spike in cargo thefts to the challenges in the Red Sea and the leaps in e-commerce logistics, it's clear that staying ahead in the logistics game means embracing innovation. That's where Tive steps in, offering a suite of game-changing tools to transform how you handle logistics:

  • Trackers: Revolutionize your shipment tracking with Tive's advanced Solo 5G trackers, offering real-time location and condition monitoring to ensure 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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