Cargo loss represents a $50 billion menace every year, according to Ben Armistead of GTU (Greenwich Transportation Underwriters Inc.), broker representative for both SC-integrity and Lexington.
Under the partnership deal unveiled this week, Lexington Insurance has essentially instituted the use of SC-integritys products and services as a proviso for customers who want insurance against cargo loss, Armistead said in an interview.
Less than two years after the companys startup, SC-integrity has already signed up customers that include big overnight shippers, manufacturers, transport companies and government agencies, according to Denis duNann, the companys CEO.
Specifically, SC-integritys customer list includes Federal Express, Williams-Sonoma Inc.; Yellow Freight, TJ Maxx Inc., and the FBI, for example.
SC-integrity has already helped customers retrieve nearly $7 million in stolen goods, duNann said in another interview. Use of the vendors technology has led to several arrests.
For instance, SC-integrity recently helped to pinpoint two law enforcement officials from Cook County, Ill., as culprits in a cargo theft incident involving shipments on route from Memphis, Tenn., to Chicago, duNann said.
In many other situations, employees of either the product distributor or third-party transportation carrier turn out to be to blame, Armistead said.
Makers of PCs and consumer electronics goods routinely ship truckloads of goods valued at $1 million and up, according to the underwriting expert.
"But many truckers dont have the wherewithal to stop theft. And [distributors] have been hard-pressed to insure truckloads for more than $250,000 on some commodities."
Armistead foresees use of the combined solution as a tool against terrorism and product counterfeiting, as well.
"Companies [importing] goods from other countries want to be able to know if a shipment has been corrupted at the point of origin," he said.
SC-integritys current product lineup includes SC-tracker and SC-intransit, according to duNann.
SC-tracker consists of small, portable devices enabled with cellular-assisted GPS.
"[The devices] can be hidden inside buildings, or placed covertly in [shipping] cartons," according to the CEO.
Through its SC-intransit service, SC-integrity hosts and manages software for tracking the locations of the devices.
The portable devices use cellular and GPS satellite-based communications to report to SC-integrity about their whereabouts every 30 seconds.
The service also includes an alert function, which provides immediate notification by a choice of phone or e-mail if either a vehicle or a carton within the vehicle moves beyond a stipulated set of boundaries known as the "geofence."
DuNann likened the supply chain security system in some ways to a home security system.
"Just as homeowners with home security systems are able to get discounts on home insurance, shippers who use SC-integrity can now get discounts on cargo insurance," he said.
Ultimately, duNann eyes creation of a third piece in the SC-integrity system.
Through an upcoming database dubbed SC-interrogate, shippers will be able to share information about cargo-related crimes, said duNann, who previously started up companies that include Verifone Inc. for fraud detection.
"Cargo loss is a much bigger problem than check fraud and credit card fraud put together," according to duNann.