US cargo theft down, but sales losses jump

Truck in rearview mirrorCargo thefts in the US totalled more than 200 in the third quarter as organised criminals continue to aggressively target high value freight.

This is according to a new report from global logistics security services firm FreightWatch International, which recorded 194 full-truckload (FTL) cargo thefts and 14 last-mile courier thefts in the US.

In this quarter, FreightWatch International found that 70 of these FTL thefts occurred in July, 76 occurred in August, and 48 occurred in September, with the average loss per theft during the quarter reaching more than $320,000. 

Compared to the third-quarter this time last year, the volume of cargo thefts actually declined by 20 per cent.

But this does not mean things are getting better - the report also found that despite there being fewer thefts, the loss value for companies compared to last year actually increased by 104 per cent.

The authors of the FreightWatch International report say: "The average loss-value ceiling continues to rise and illustrates that organised cargo thieves continue to aggressively target high value freight."

Breaking it down, food and drink accounted for 18% of all thefts, the most of any industry during the third quarter of this year, followed closely by electronics, at 17 per cent of all thefts.

Overall however electronics thefts compared to the total number of thefts as a whole has dropped steadily in recent years: electronic thefts made up 32 per cent of overall cargo thefts in 2007 and reached a new low of 12 per cent in 2012.

This is because while still one of the more sought-after product types, its re-sale potential diminishes steadily over time, according to FreightWatch

With 42 thefts, California was the US state with the most incidents, followed by Florida, which accounted for 17 per cent of all thefts.

Many other countries also have to deal with the fallout of these thefts with Brazil being one of the most adversely affected.

In January this year it passed a new bill to tackle the problem after latest data from 2012 showed there were about 15,000 cargo thefts throughout the country, of which more than 7,000 occurred in Sao Paulo. Many of these thefts were pharmaceuticals.

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