Goods tracking technologies battle cargo theft

As thieves become more sophisticated, tracking devices that can be stored covertly in packages can help recover stolen products, such as pharmaceuticals.

Goods tracking technologies help battle cargo theft.
Goods tracking technologies help battle cargo theft.

Goods tracking technologies are on the rise, as companies find them increasingly essential in effectively tracking and monitoring transported goods to cut down on cargo theft.

ABI Research estimates that the market, which was worth $3.6 billion in 2016, will swell to $5.6 billion by 2021. These findings are from ABI Research's Goods Asset Tracking Technologies report.

Sophisticated goods tracking technologies mitigate cargo theft and play a key role in the recovery of stolen assets by detecting the location of stolen premium goods, including pharmaceuticals, electronics, jewelry, tobacco and alcohol, cash, and retail products. The technologies also provide additional security by enabling companies to track and recover stolen shipments, even when those shipments are reloaded into a new container or trailer, which is not being tracked.

“These solutions are covertly placed into product packaging so that they can continue to ping its location in real-time, enabling companies to track and recover stolen shipment and apprehend criminals," says Raquel Artes, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “This is particularly suitable given the market's complex ecosystem wherein products are handled and transferred among a handful of different players and the risk of theft is high.”

The compact, portable, and rechargeable goods tracking devices utilize satellite and/or cellular networks to obtain a shipment's location. As the devices are relatively small, they can be covertly hidden inside the product, packaging, box, or pallet and then monitored via Internet, making them difficult for cargo thieves to detect.

Companies mentioned in this space include goods tracking service providers (FreightWatch International, 3SI Security Systems, Ctrack, Telenav, Starcom Systems, Sendum Wireless, Rockwell GPS Tracking Tracker), chipset vendors (Qualcomm, MediaTek), module vendors (Telit, u-blox), third-party logistics providers (FedEx, DB Schenker), and telecom operators (AT&T).

But thieves are adapting as new technologies emerge. Many are revolutionizing their stealing techniques by committing cybercrime, GPS and cellular jamming, GNSS spoofing, and deceptive pickups. The new threats are reshaping tracking requirements. For instance, if a thief attempts GPS jamming, the goods tracking device will send real-time alert of possible theft via cellular technology, enabling companies to act immediately. GNSS and cellular technologies are standard features of goods tracking devices.

New cellular network technologies will also reduce connectivity costs to drive further adoption. Goods tracking solutions will migrate either to EC-GSM, an extended coverage version of 2G, or leverage the more network efficient LPWA LTE technologies in LTE Category 1, LTE Category M1, and LTE Category M2.

For more than 25 years, ABI Research has stood at the forefront of technology market intelligence, covering more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors.

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