Baby-Formula Shipments Come With High Security to Deter Cargo Thieves

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Logistics companies are using tracking technology and special locks to protect infant formula deliveries from criminals

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According to cargo-safety experts, baby formula has long been attractive to criminals, along with other food and beverages, a category that was the No. 1 theft target from 2010 to 2020. Cargo-security officials said that food and beverage overtook electronics as the most popular target for cargo thieves after the financial crisis of 2007–09, when household incomes declined and demand for staples was high. officials said.

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A shortage of infant formula across the U.S. due to a mix of supply-chain issues and a recall has made the product an even bigger target for cargo thieves, as panicked parents and caregivers feed their babies. find the formula.

Jack Boyer, vice president of sales support operations at Cincinnati-based freight broker Total Quality Logistics, said, “Whenever we see a situation with higher-value cargo than we are experiencing now, it concerns us. Is.” Manufacturers of infant formula.

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For Total Quality Logistics, which contracts with independent drivers to handle shipments, Mr. Boyer ranged from “extreme checks” of carriers to advanced measures such as physical security such as special locks on trailers and tracking systems embedded in shipments. is of.

“We will transfer it with the same protections that we apply to pharmaceuticals and electronics and other shipments that may be targeted,” he said.

A can of baby formula may cost far less than an iPhone, but experts say shipments of food and beverages can be sold easily, difficult to trace, and organized over time and without The spoiled can be shipped over long distances. The products are consumed later, leaving no evidence.

“Infant formula, Enfamil, Similac and others, have always been at high risk for theft,” said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet, the logistics-security unit of Verisk Analytics. Inc.,

A Jersey City, NJ-based risk-assessment business.

Companies including Abbott Laboratories Inc.,

The makers of Similac are working to ramp up production. Switzerland-based Nestle SA,

The third largest player in the US baby-formula market after Abbott and Enfamil maker Reckitt Benckiser Group plc is also increasing production and has flown formula from Europe to the US under special regulations adopted by the Food and Drug Administration.

The flow of those shipments into U.S. distribution channels should begin to increase in the coming weeks as production from plants ramps up, with logistics operators being brought in in an effort to address the shortfall.

Logistics companies have developed security protocols over time through a central group, the Transported Asset Protection Association, and say they have implemented them as cargo thieves’ attention has shifted over the years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, items preferred by thieves included paper goods and cleaning supplies that were in high demand and difficult to find. “We were looking at things like hand sanitizer and masks,” said Mr. Boyer. “It was not about the price of the product, but about the scarcity of it. And that’s something we’re seeing now with concern for parents who are looking for formula. ,

write to Paul Page [email protected] . Feather

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