Obviously, it's difficult for even the best of thieves to steal air cargo while a plane is in the air. But when that plane lands and begins to unload, it's a completely different story.
In fact, according to an article in Air Cargo World, the ground is where air cargo is at its most vulnerable.
"There's always going to be that one point where nobody's watching the store," said Erik Hoffer, vice president of the Cargo Security Alliance (CSA). "Without having the ability to have a chain of custody throughout the different modalities, you're not going to get anywhere. You're just going to have a problem always."
Cargo is handled by a number of different parties once it hits the ground, and there are a number of ways for thieves to take advantage of the system. That's why it's so important for carriers to stay one step ahead of the game by working to develop a "chain of custody."
According to Walt Beadling, managing partner at CSA, that means knowing who has every piece of cargo at every step along the supply chain.
"You may not know where it is, but you know who has responsibility for it," he said. "And at each point where the cargo's transferred, there's a handoff, a formal handoff, where custody is transferred from one entity to another."
Another effective way to keep track of cargo is to use a proof of condition service like CargoSnapshot. Users can take pictures of each individual piece of cargo, so they have a better idea of what they are carrying, and what state it was in during the flight.