FreightWatch: Cargo theft incidents, loss values on rise

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Monday, May 11, 2015

Both the number of incidents of cargo theft and the average loss value per incident in the United States are on the rise compared to a year ago, according to the latest report from FreightWatch International.

The 191 verified incidents of cargo theft in January, February and March 2015 represent a 1 percent increase compared with the same time period last year, according to a new report published Friday. The average loss value per incident of $256,966 represents a 26 percent increase in that same time period. The report states that the increase in loss value represents a trend going back to at least the third quarter of 2014, in which organized cargo thieves “are targeting more lucrative shipments” according to the report.

FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, publishes quarterly reports in addition to an annual report on cargo theft. The report also states that figures from the most recent quarter are expected to rise in the coming weeks, due to what the company in the past has referred to as a “substantial underreporting” of cargo thefts nationwide.

Food and drinks continue to be the most-stolen product type, accounting for 31 percent of total thefts in the U.S. during the quarter. Electronics were the second-most stolen type, accounting for 14 percent, followed by home and garden supplies, which accounted for 12 percent of thefts.

New Jersey leapfrogged both Florida and California to become the top state where cargo thefts were reported, with 37 incidents. The Garden State typically ranked anywhere from fifth to ninth in the company’s previous rankings. Florida logged 31 thefts, while California posted 30 thefts. Texas (27 reported incidents) and Georgia (20 incidents) rounded out the Top 5. The report notes that California has seen “a recent and persistent drop in theft volumes” due to several factors, including the continued West Coast port slowdowns, which have reduced freight volume in the state.

Roughly 91 percent of all reported thefts occurred in unsecured parking, with 21 percent of those thefts occurring at truck stops. Thefts from warehouses and distribution centers accounted for 5 percent of thefts, followed by secured parking locations with 4 percent in the quarter.

The report also states that full truckload thefts were the most common type during the quarter, accounting for 80 percent of all reported thefts. Pilferage, with 12 percent was second-most, at 12 percent. Fictitious pickup accounted for roughly 3 percent of all reported thefts.

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