"After a significant spike in cargo theft activity in 2009, we expected theft rates to level out somewhat in 2010," said Ron Greene, general manager of FreightWatch International, USA. "What we are witnessing, however, is a more targeted approach by cargo thieves, seeking multi-trailer thefts and large scale warehouse burglaries, including the largest loss on record."
The largest cargo theft incident on record occurred this year in Enfield, Conn., resulting in a $76 million loss. The total estimated loss rose sharply from $38 million in 2009 to $102 million in 2010.
This year, cargo theft gangs are seeking larger payoffs per theft, stealing two, three and even four trailers at a time, most commonly from terminals where trailers are more likely loaded with similar product. FreightWatch views this as the natural progression for cargo theft gangs, as they moved from "pot luck" style cargo theft to active targeting.
Food and beverages had the highest incidents of theft, accounting for 22 percent of all theft incidents, with electronics trailing close behind at 19 percent. Meat products, canned beverages (sports drinks, energy drinks and juices), and raw products (such as sugar and coffee) were the most commonly stolen products in the food and beverage commodity category.
While warehouse burglaries were up 50 percent in 2009, these have slowed, with 12 recorded warehouse burglaries in the first half of 2010, a decrease in the overall rate of incidents.
This year New England has seen an increased level of cargo theft activity, especially in Massachusetts and Connecticut. While overall theft levels are low here compared to other states, cargo theft has historically been non-existent there.
For more information about FreightWatch's report, go to www.freightwatchintl.com.