Cargo theft on the rise in US, says CargoNet

Carriers in the US saw a spike in cargo thefts in the second quarter of the year, according to Verisk Analytics’ CargoNet unit, with cases up 57 per cent year-on-year.

There were 566 incidents in the three-month period, involving $44 million in goods and an average loss per incident of more than $260,000, according to the update, which notes that the increase is largely attributed to shipment misdirection attacks.

That is a kind of strategic cargo theft in which actors use stolen motor carrier and logistics broker identities to obtain freight and misdirect it from the intended receiver so they can steal it.

The average shipment value per event is nearly $100,000 higher than in the same period of 2022, with food and beverage and electronics the most targeted product categories.

Full trailer load thefts were most common in California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois, with the number up 17 per cent, with significant activity in New York City and Philadelphia as well.

Burglary of a loaded conveyance decreased slightly year-over-year – which CargoNet attributed to recent law enforcement activity – but still remains a significant threat to shipments especially high-value shipments that are travelling on the I-40 corridor through Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

“We also acknowledge significant growth in extortion and theft by conversion schemes, particularly from organised groups in Illinois and California,” said CargoNet.

“These groups focus on obtaining shipments from logistics brokers, tacking on extra and often exorbitant fees for various manufactured reasons like overweight tickets or previous rate penalties charged to non-affiliated motor carriers. Criminal enforcement for such cases is complex and rare, which has emboldened organised groups.”

There was also a rise in fictitious pickups, where a shipment is misdirected to another address to be claimed by criminals, with activity focused on smaller shipments of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages – specifically soda and energy drinks – solar power energy generation equipment, as well as various kinds of automobile supplies including auto parts, fluids, oils, and tires.

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