The recent alliance between stolen vehicle tracking firm LoJack Corp. and telematics provider TomTom is but the latest example of efforts to beef up the technological resources available to fleets for combating cargo theft while helping them gain efficiencies simultaneously.
“Our alliance with TomTom will allow us to provide a “one stop shop” for business owners looking to manage and protect their fleets with one solid solution,” Randy Ortiz, LoJack’s president and CEO, told FleetOwner.
“Cargo theft is becoming an increasingly sophisticated and lucrative opportunity for professional thieves, requiring businesses to take progressively more steps to ensure their mobile assets are protected both proactively and reactively,” he pointed out. “To do so, businesses are relying on new technologies more and more for safety and security services.”
Ortiz added that the alliance between LoJack and TomTom should increase the breadth and depth of safety, security and protection services available to fleets,while also offering the ability to improve routing, boost arrival time accuracy, and provide vehicle maintenance alerts – all while increasing security, such as by offering alerts for off-hour vehicle usage and crafting “geo-fences” to monitor route adherence.
Both companies feel the “marriage” between cargo security and navigation technologies comes at an ideal time as cargo theft remains a pernicious issue in the U.S. According to FreightWatch International, there were 940 cargo theft incidents throughout the U.S. in 2012, which represented a mere 0.5% decrease from 2011's total – a slight decline comes after an 8.3% increase cargo theft in 2011 over 2010.
According to FreightWatch, on average 78.3 cargo theft incidents occurred per month in 2012, or 2.6 per day. Of those thefts 760, or 80.9%, were full-truckload or container thefts. The average value per theft incident last year dropped to $174,298, down from a peak of $554,105 in 2009, with January, March and April the months with the highest incident rates for thefts, with Friday and Saturday the most popular days to commit such crime.
Interestingly, the firm noted that there’s been a steady drop in the percentage of electronics thefts compared with the total number of cargo thefts – accounting for just 12% of total cargo thefts in 2012, down from 32% of total thefts in 2007 – while food and drink were most often stolen last year, accounting for 19% of all cargo thefts.
Those data points are just some of the reasons why Ortiz believes the combination of LoJack’s stolen vehicle reporting technology with TomTom’s Webfleet telematics product – a combination that will be rolled out sometime in the first quarter this year to small and medium business owners, commercial fleets, automotive dealerships and law enforcement agencies – should be warmly welcomed by the industry.
“Combining forces will provide a variety of new benefits to existing and new customer bases,” he explained, which includes offering GPS/GSM technology to address higher fuel costs, optimized routing with real-time traffic data, and monitoring driving behavior – all while improving the security profile of cargo shipments.
“It will enable business owners to operate their fleet more profitably, while providing increased asset protection, greater customer service and overall employee satisfaction,” Ortiz said.