Cargo Theft Up in 2022: Preventing Fictitious Pickups and Organized Crime
Cargo theft is a significant problem for shippers and carriers, and the problem only seems to be getting worse. According to CargoNet, instances of cargo theft increased by 15% in 2022, with an estimated $223 million worth of cargo stolen across all theft events. One of the main drivers behind this increase was the use of fictitious pickups. In this article, we will explore the key findings from CargoNet’s report, the main drivers of cargo theft, and what shippers and carriers can do to prevent it.
CargoNet recorded 1,778 supply-chain risk events across the United States and Canada in 2022, representing a 15% increase from 2021. The theft of heavy commercial vehicles increased by 17% year-over-year, while theft of cargo increased by 20%. The average value of cargo stolen in an event was $214,104. California remained the top state for reported events, with theft increasing by 41% year-over-year. Household items were the most frequently stolen commodity, followed closely by electronics. Fictitious pickups increased by 600% year-over-year, with most occurrences happening in California.
Main Drivers of Cargo Theft
Theft of cargo can be motivated by various factors, such as the value of goods, the opportunity to steal, or the need to obtain a specific product. In 2022, one of the main drivers of cargo theft was supply chain disruptions due to inflation. The scarcity and cost of goods drove demand in illicit markets, with some items becoming more valuable targets than others. Computer graphics cards and raw beef, poultry, and pork were among the most commonly targeted items due to their high value.
Increases in theft activity were also reported around major intermodal hubs, which is where goods are transferred between different modes of transportation, such as from truck to train. These areas are attractive to thieves as they provide a high volume of potential targets. California remained the top state for reported events in 2022, with theft increasing by 41% year-over-year. Household items were the most frequently stolen commodity, with appliances and furniture being commonly targeted during long haul and final-mile distribution.
Fictitious Pickups on the Rise
Fictitious pickups are a growing concern for shippers and carriers. This type of cargo theft relies on subcontracting the shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and having the shipment misdirected to another address. The number of fictitious pickups recorded by CargoNet increased by 600% year-over-year, with most occurrences happening in California.
Logistics brokers and shippers can help prevent fictitious cargo pickups by verifying any bids on shipments with the motor carrier through their contact information on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and verifying the name of the motor carrier and driver matches who the shipment was tendered to.
Preventing Cargo Theft
Preventing cargo theft is essential for shippers and carriers. Here are some steps they can take to prevent it:
- Use high-security trailer locks
- Park in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras
- Drivers should vary their routes and avoid sharing information about their cargo or schedules with unauthorized individuals
- Verify the identity of motor carriers and drivers
- Train employees to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings
Cargo theft is a significant problem for shippers and carriers, with fictitious pickups being one of the main drivers of cargo theft in 2022. While there are steps that can be taken to prevent cargo theft, such as verifying the identity of motor carriers and drivers and using high-security trailer locks, it is important to acknowledge that cargo theft remains a persistent and growing threat.
As companies continue to rely on complex and interconnected supply chains, the risk of cargo theft will continue to rise. This underscores the need for shippers and carriers to be vigilant and take proactive steps to protect their supply chain from theft and disruption.
In conclusion, the increase in cargo theft in 2022 highlights the need for companies to take steps to protect their supply chains. By being proactive and implementing measures to prevent cargo theft, such as verifying the identity of motor carriers and drivers and using high-security trailer locks, companies can help mitigate the risk of theft and protect their bottom line.
Here are some additional resources on cargo theft that you may find helpful:
CargoNet: Fictitious Pickups
Journal of Commerce: Intermodal hub cities see uptick in cargo theft
FreightWaves: Theft of heavy commercial vehicles and cargo surge