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Changing Face Of Cargo Theft

Third quarter cargo theft data in the United States last year shows storage facilities were targeted in 45% of reported cases, up from 20% of recorded cases in the same quarter in 2020, according to a report from the freight insurance provider TT Club.

The decrease in hijacking and robbery of vehicles from 67% to just 25% this year was found to coincide with rise in theft of cargo units that were located in unsecured storage areas.

“Congestion throughout the supply chain but particularly in and around ports is a significant contributory factor to this diversification of theft types,” TT Club said.

The changes in theft patterns from the same quarter in 2020 show the trend is away from “on the move” targets to places where cargo is temporarily stored and delivered. That includes traditional warehouses and yards where containers and trailers wait for collection, many of which are temporary facilities in port areas lacking in adequate security measures.

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

“The is little doubt that the problems of supply chain disruption that are currently bedeviling the U.S. freight transport system – particularly that of container congestion at ports and inland hubs – is creating increased opportunities for thieves,” TT Club Managing Director, Loss Prevention Mike Yarwood concluded.

“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.”

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