Friday, November 7, 2008

Locking loads

Cargo security experts estimate that between $20 billion and $30 billion of commercial goods are stolen annually from big trucks.

Of course we don’t know an exact figure.

Because retailers aren’t interested in pointing to the value of their highest-priced loads, and due to the relative ease by which some thieves take trailers and occasionally $40 million in pharmaceuticals, we may never know how much truck cargo is stolen annually.

(In my best promotional voice) Check your mailbox this week for the November edition of Land Line Magazine, and a story titled “Grand theft cargo,” where the magazine focuses on theft from commercial trucks.

I was able to ride along with TOMCATS, a Miami-Dade Police Department unit dedicated to stopping cargo theft. Their unit was fun to watch work. They deal with some dangerous individuals who mostly are a step away from hijacking trucks, and are only a notch or two below the mafia in terms of organization.

Click here to read about one insurance company’s answer for cargo theft – a trailer designed to run sting operations on potential thieves.

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies recently put out a news release saying that consumer electronics, food and clothing are the three most stolen cargoes. Their statistical study shows that truck stops and rest areas are the locations most targeted by truckload thieves, although motel and restaurant parking lots also are top targets.

As mentioned in the article, cargo theft isn’t going away. If it escalates the way it has in Europe, it could result in more armed hijackings and violence that truckers have to deal with.