Businesses should consider investing in data collection tools like wireless barcode scanners to better keep track of their shipments, as a new report from FreightWatch International found that the number of cargo thefts remains at all-time highs.
Truckinginfo reported that 940 incidents occurred in 2012. While this figure is slightly lower than 2011, it is still far higher than statistics from two and three years ago. Last year, a cargo theft happened more than twice a day on average, with 78 incidents in a typical month. According to Business Insurance, 760 of these thefts - close to 81 percent of all reported incidents were truckload or container heists.
In terms of the methods used, criminals were far more likely to turn to deception than violence when executing their thefts. Truckinginfo reported that only 2 percent of all incidents were associated with violence. In contrast, the number of driver thefts rose close to 150 percent since 2009, and the number of deceptive freight pickups went up by 763 percent over that same period.
"In its 2012 U.S. Cargo Theft Report, FreightWatch said while such thefts are only 6.5 percent of overall cargo theft in 2012, the rise of deceptive pickups, and the decline of violent methods, such as hijackings, represents the evolution of cargo theft," Truckinginfo contributor Evan Lockridge wrote. "It also notes that deceptive pickups, which generally involve stealing the identity of a legitimate cargo carrier in order to broker the transport of the load, are a much lower risk method of theft than traditional trailer thefts."
Most Frequently Stolen Shipments and How to Reduce Risk
Business Insurance reported that electronics and precious metals remain two of the most frequently stolen shipment items, accounting for close to 27 percent of all thefts. However, meat and other food items are increasingly at risk of theft, according to Truckinginfo. in 2012, the number of meat heists increased more than 58 percent because regional drought has made food more scarce and thus more valuable.
"As the price of corn rises in the U.S. (typically based on factors such as drought), the cost of raising cattle also rises," the report said, according to the news source. "This causes a spike in the price of meat, and therefore its desirability by thieves."
To reduce some of the risks associated with cargo theft, businesses should turn to an automated data collection system. That way, should a shipment become lost or stolen, its contents can be traced and are thus more likely to be recovered.