Despite many industry efforts to combat cargo theft, an average of 72 cargo theft incidents occurred per month in 2009, a gain of 12 percent, the most ever recorded
, according to FreightWatch International's 2009 Annual Cargo Theft Report.

"Over the last year, we have seen companies increase their proactive security measures," said Barry Conlon, CEO of FreightWatch. "This combined with a decrease in total shipping during 2009, primarily due to decreased global demand resulting from the recession, has forced cargo theft gangs become more aggressive and increase their active targeting unprotected high-value loads."

According to the report, electronics was the industry most heavily hit by cargo theft, accounting for 23 percent of total theft activity. Electronics incurred an average loss value of $806,000 per incident. The food and drinks industry came in second at 20 percent, followed by home and garden items at 10 percent.

The states with the highest risk for cargo theft in 2009 included California, Florida and Texas. Other states at risk were Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

While typically the majority of cargo theft have occurred at truckstops, in 2009, there were a noticeable increase in the number of cargo thefts occurring at terminal and distribution center lots and trailer drop lots. In the first half of 2009, there were 31 incidents in secured distribution center and terminal lots, while it increased to 62 incidents in the second half of the year. The report attributes the change to the proactive approach by cargo thieves to target loads at their points of origin through information collection and surveillance.

More info:

Read more about what you can do to prevent cargo theft in the June 2009 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine, available online here.