Cargo Theft Rises 20%
January 17, 2023
recorded 1,778 supply chain risk events across the United States and Canada in
2022, an increase of 15% from 2021. Supply chain disruptions were one of the
main concerns of the year because of their effect on inflation. Scarcity and
cost drove illicit market demand for goods that were most affected like computer
graphics cards and raw beef, poultry, and pork. Available capacity eased in the
later months of 2022, but theft remained a prominent threat.
CargoNet's 2022 data indicates that events that involved theft of at least one
heavy commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck or semi-trailer increased by 17%
year-over-year, while events that involved theft of cargo increased by 20%
year-over-year. Note that a single event record could involve theft of one or
more vehicles or shipments. The average value of cargo stolen in an event was
$214,104. CargoNet estimates that $223 million in cargo was stolen across all
cargo theft events in 2022.
Increases in theft activity around major intermodal hubs were significant.
California remained the top state for reported events in 2022 and theft in the
state increased 41% year-over-year. Computer and green energy components were
some of the most frequently stolen items of the year and California is a major
logistics hub for these items. Theft in Georgia increased by 34% year-over-year,
due in part to organized crime groups that took advantage of increased traffic
to the Port of Savannah. Georgia shut down a state task force to investigate
cargo theft in 2020.
Household items were the most stolen commodity in 2022. This is a diverse
category that includes appliances and furniture which often get targeted during
long haul and final mile distribution. There was also a notable increase in
theft of shipments of tools and toys. Household items were closely followed by
electronics. Theft of computer electronics decreased by 37% from 2021, but we
note theft of these products reached unprecedented highs in 2021 and theft was
still elevated compared to baseline. Additionally, theft of televisions and
other displays nearly doubled from 2021.
we begin the new year, all industry members should take steps to mitigate
fictitious cargo pickups, a blend of identity theft and cargo theft that can
affect all parties in a supply chain. CargoNet recorded 96 more fictitious
pickups in 2022 compared to the year prior, a 600% increase year-over-year. Most
fictitious cargo pickups occurred in California (74% of total), but the crime is
spreading across the country and CargoNet has recently received reports of
similar fictitious pickups in Washington State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Illinois, Texas, and others. Shipments of solar modules, auto parts, and vehicle
maintenance products like engine oil are most at risk, but the threat extends to
most categories of goods.
This style of fictitious cargo pickup relies heavily on subcontracting the
shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and having the shipment misdirected to
another address. Logistics brokers and shippers can help prevent fictitious
cargo pickups by verifying any bids on shipments with the motor carrier through
their contact information on file with the FMCSA and verifying the name of the
motor carrier and driver matches who the shipment was tendered to. Motor
carriers should be wary of new customers that offer payment through peer-to-peer
money transfer apps if their business would haul a blind shipment delivering to
an address different from the bill of lading, especially if the address is a
public warehouse or cross-dock in California.