- Stealing cargo is a $15 billion to $35 billion industry.
- Insider compiled the four biggest players creating tech to track freight and prevent theft.
- They include the veteran PowerFleet and the small-business-focused company TruckX.
Cargo theft, where goods are stolen in transport, is a $15 billion to $35 billion industry. While it’s been an unfortunate byproduct of trade for years, with stakeholders constantly looking to stem losses by beefing up security and adding checks and measures, media footage of thieves breaking into slow-moving trains and raiding cargo containers has many consumers and businesses concerned about the safety and stability of supply chains.
Name-brand companies like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS are predominantly bearing the brunt of these costs. It’s no surprise then that tech companies are cropping up to tackle the challenge. Here’s a look at some of the top players based on market share and innovation in the logistics-tracking space.
Courtesy of PowerFleet
Funding raised: Publicly traded
The New Jersey-based PowerFleet is an experienced incumbent in the telematics market, serving more than half a million customers, including Coca-Cola, GE, Avis, and Walmart. The company, formerly named I.D. Systems, was founded in 1993 by Kenneth Ehrman while he was an engineering student at Stanford University. The company pioneered and was at the forefront of using radio-frequency-identification, or RFID, technology for industrial-asset tracking. I.D. Systems was acquired by Pointer Telocation and was later rebranded as PowerFleet in 2019.
PowerFleet offers a series of Internet of Things telematics devices, freight cameras, and sensors that track cargo location, status, and condition and assess an asset’s safety by combining location information to create alerts on where it stops. Its tech also integrates with the carrier transportation-management system, or TMS, to create virtual geographic perimeters (otherwise called a geofence) defined by GPS coordinates, which helps to monitor the real-time location of trucks and can help point out safe resting spots.
Courtesy of Tive
Funding raised: $81.9 million, according to Crunchbase
Investors: AXA Venture Partners, Sorenson Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Floating Point, SJF Ventures, RRE Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Supply Chain Ventures, Fifth Wall, NextView Ventures, Hyperplane Venture Capital, Broom Ventures
The Boston-based Tive counts major retailers and freight forwarders like Alpine Fresh, Driscoll’s, DSV, and Johnson Controls as part of its clientele today. Its trackers, once attached to a freight container, relay location data using cellular, WiFi, and GPS data. They also monitor the container’s environment, notifying management when the shipment is exposed to varying light or temperature conditions.
Komoni, the company’s founder and CEO, developed the tracker that would later form the basis of Tive in 2015 to help his father-in-law grow his trucking business in Massachusetts. Fast-forward to today, and the company reported that it’s grown 5,540% during the pandemic years. Tive is part of the Open Visibility Network, where it works with the supply-chain-visibility giant Project44 to connect shippers, logistics-service providers, brokers, and clients via collaborative data sharing.
Tive runs a team of live-monitoring experts that track global shipments 24/7. When shipment-route deviation is detected, the team works with carriers to mitigate delays and recover their freight, getting law enforcement involved if necessary.
Courtesy of TruckX
Funding raised: Self-funded
Like its competitors, the California-based TruckX, founded in 2016, provides sensors and trackers that stick to a truck’s surface and monitor truck movement and its environment, alerting the fleet back office of any break-ins or if the truck steers off the assigned route.
Chaudhari, the founder and president of TruckX, comes with a decade of experience building cloud software, most notably at VMware. Chaudhari told Insider he saw many tracking solutions catering to enterprise businesses and decided to come up with a product that’s affordable and tailor-made to fit the needs of small and midsize businesses. With 90% of all trucking firms in the US running 10 or fewer trucks, this is a large addressable market. Today, TruckX services more than 10,000 trucking companies, with roughly 70,000 drivers using its tracking platform.
TruckX trackers have wireless access to other sensors on the vehicle, allowing them to relay data seamlessly even in cases where the truck is sabotaged. For instance, TruckX can track the truck’s cab and trailer-door status and send notifications every time a door is opened during the trip, enabling fleet management to keep a count of the instances the driver got off the truck while monitoring the integrity of the trailer’s door.
Courtesy of LocatorX
Funding raised: $9.5 million, according to Crunchbase
Investors: NewGate Capital Partners
The Atlanta-based LocatorX, founded in 2014, offers tracking sensors that are structurally built like the RFID tags commonly stuck on items at retail stores. The company is led by Fletcher, who has more than two decades of experience in technical consulting and building software for companies like Shell and the supply-chain-management firm i2 Technologies.
LocatorX’s sensors are a lot smaller than other Internet of Things sensors on the market and so can be added onto product packaging directly to help management easily retrieve stolen freight. They also have built-in miniature atomic clocks powered by energy-harvesting coils, which allows them to track shipments over long stretches of time without the need for external energy sources.