Cargo theft has become a major security threat in the United States. FreightWatch International (FWI) has reported that cargo thefts are actually on the decline with significant year-over-year change, but 166 cargo thefts in the US were reported during the second quarter of 2016, with an average loss of $154,184. Interestingly, FWI has reported an unusual occurrence in that no thefts valued at over $1 million were reported. In contrast, CargoNet recorded eight separate thefts worth more than $1 million and one shipment valued at $8 million in the same quarter.
While electronics and precious metals are frequently targets for cargo thieves with $14.6 million worth of electronics being reported as stolen in the second quarter of 2016, food and drink shipments are actually hijacked the most frequently. While $3.81 million worth of food and beverage cargo was stolen, these thefts account for 23% of reported freight thefts according to FWI. Nuts, juice, soda, and bottled tea and water are the food and beverage items most likely to be heisted. Home and garden appliances account for 11% of reported stolen cargo, while electronics comprises 13% of reported thefts. TVs and displays are the most commonly stolen electronics.
California, particularly the Los Angeles metropolitan area and Baja California, is where cargo theft is the most rampant. Northeast Texas also sees a great deal of truck heists as does southern Florida, Georgia, South Jersey and the Pennsylvania border, and the Lake Michigan regions but southern California has the highest incidence of cargo theft in the entire country. Thefts reported in California account for 40% of all cargo thefts nationwide. 19% of cargo thefts were reported in Texas, 8% in New Jersey, and 7% in Florida. However, cargo theft in southern California remains the most problematic not because they represent such a large percentage of all nationally reported theft, but because cargo theft there has surged 122% in 2016 compared to 2015.
Warehouse and distribution center locations are the most common locations for cargo thefts, but unsecured yards also comprised a significant portion of thefts in 2016 with a 45% increase from 2015 and is expected to rise. 53 thefts were reported in warehouses and distribution centers, while unsecured yards had 29 thefts. Choosing a customs bonded warehouse that has security measures in place can be an important factor in protecting your assets. Truck stops and parking lots have also become popular targets for cargo thieves, also particularly in Texas, but truck stop thefts have decreased 26% compared to 2015 and parking lot thefts decreased by 36%.
High value isn’t necessarily the largest risk factor when it comes to keeping cargo safe from hijackers: bottled water is stolen at a higher frequency than flat screen TVs. Cargo thieves are continually adapting to changes in logistics technology and security. Subsequently, supply chain managers must figure out how to bolster security when truck drivers must travel through or deliver to regions most prone to cargo theft. Logistics security professionals need to be one step ahead of cargo thieves and not assume that high value cargo is the most likely to be stolen.
At World Trade Distribution, Inc. we take the care of your cargo very seriously. Our warehouse is customs bonded and has 24-hour security patrol, as well as CCTV and security alarm systems. We have over 35 years in the freight management industry, and our reputation has remained second to none. If you have any concerns about transporting your goods safely and securely, contact World Trade Distribution today and let us go over all of our security measures with you.