Cargo theft has been around for centuries. Smuggling syndicates are all over, and they appear to be organized criminal networks proliferating in both Canada and the United States.
Recently, a report came out highlighting a 63% rate of theft, which occurred on the Labor Day of 2012. Cargo theft cases mostly targeted pharmaceuticals, electronics and several other valued items, totaling to over a $1 billion loss for the trucking companies. Freightwatch was then put into full alert on weekends, since cargo theft mostly happens during these times.
In May through July, International Freightwatch has reported 185 thefts in the United States. An average loss of $147,260 or an increase of 23% of theft in average was reported, and this indicated an increase in theft compared to the previous quarter.
These organized criminal networks targeted mostly food and drinks in this 3-month duration. 13% of stolen items were electronics and 12% were building/industrial items, which included construction materials and equipment.
Around $5 billion in a year or $500,000 worth of stolen items each day on average have been reported in Toronto. Law enforcement agents together with trucking officials worked alongside each other in formulating plans on how to eliminate or at least lessen the cargo theft incidence. The meeting was attended by Ontario Trucking Association and Verisk Crime Analytics Canada.
From July through August, Freightwatch International has recorded a total of 202 thefts, with the same types of stolen items mentioned above. Compared with the previous quarter, an increase of 5% of theft and an average 9% loss of valuables were recorded.
Canadian Trucking Alliance Vice-president Jennifer Fox said, “Because of the lack of national attention this issue receives, cargo crime is unfortunately seen by criminals as low-risk with huge profits. The impact to Canadians, however, is quite significant and the ripple effects are far reaching. Additionally, while these types of crimes are rarely mentioned on the evening news or the front page, you can be sure the proceeds from cargo crime support some of the higher-profile criminal acts people do hear about often. It’s time to stop treating cargo thefts as a victimless crime.”
Jeff Bryan, Ontario Trucking Association Chair added, “Carriers are leading the charge. Being an active carrier doesn’t indicate that you have a problem, but that you are part of the solution. I invite all stakeholders in the supply chain to come to the table to help us incite legislative changes.”
This is a national issue that needs attention. If cargo theft cannot be eliminated or at least lessened, not only the trucking industry will suffer, but it will also greatly affect consumers. Remember the truck driver shortage? The lack of truck drivers has made great loss to the trucking companies. Everyone is well aware of the consequences—consumers suffer because the loss is passed onto them. This incident is not very far from happening when the issue on cargo theft is not given a solution.