Rise in different cargo theft types driven by conditions at congested U.S. ports

Freight insurance specialist TT Club and the supply chain services and solutions team at BSI, the business improvement and standards company, have highlighted the increased risk of theft from storage facilities seen over the past few months in the United States. 

The changes in theft patterns from the same quarter last year highlight a trend away from ‘on the move’ targets to those locations where cargo is temporarily stored and delivered.  These locations include traditional warehouses and depots where containers and trailers are being held awaiting collection, many of which are temporary facilities in port areas without adequate security regimes.

The largest rise in the methods and locations for cargo theft was from facilities:  the percentage of the total increasing to 25% in the third quarter this year in contrast with just 7% in 2020.  At the other extreme, theft of vehicles fell from a dominant 47% in 2020 to a surprisingly low 15%; in addition, hijackings halved from 20% to 10%.

In commenting on some of the more contrasting figures, Mike Yarwood, TT Club’s Managing Director, Loss Prevention said, “There is little doubt that the problems of supply chain disruption that are currently bedeviling the US freight transport system, particularly that of container congestion at ports and inland hubs, is creating increased opportunities for thieves. 

“The static nature of cargo in these circumstances, often stored in temporary and less secure facilities, leads to criminal ingenuity adapting the modus operandi of theft in a typically resourceful way.”

Yarwood concluded: “Whatever the location and means of cargo theft such incidents can often be averted through straightforward due diligence, management processes and employee vetting and training.” 

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