Cargo theft has, historically, impacted the logistics industry from the moment goods first began to be transported across Canada. It is, unfortunately, a crime that has come with the territory as companies that transport valuable products in large quantities catch the attention of those interested in turning a quick profit through the stealing and reselling of goods. While security measures are continually being put in place to prevent cargo theft from occurring, 2018 has seen a rise in cargo theft across the country.
Cargo Theft by The Numbers
Approximately 90% of products and foodstuffs are transported by truck in Canada, causing Canadians to rely on the trucking industry to not only receive products and goods but to boost the Canadian economy as well. It comes as no surprise then that the majority of items reported stolen within Canada during the first six months of 2018 is food and drink, at 44% of total cargo thefts. Why is this the case? It is believed that these products are easier to sell and are not typically transported in trailers outfitted with tracking technology. According to information collected by the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s National Cargo Theft Reporting Program, $27 million worth of product has been stolen. While $13.2 million of these losses have been recovered, cargo theft in Canada is projected to exceed that of losses claimed in 2017, if these numbers continue.
While the United States is also no stranger to cargo theft, specifically in the stealing of electronics which accounts for approximately 24% of robberies, cargo theft overall has decreased by 22%. These reports must be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it is believed across the industry that many thefts go unreported or are reported by unreliable sources.
What Can Be Done?
Cargo theft can take many forms and occur at any time. In a report released by SensiGuard, cargo theft in Canada varies. The stealing of full truckloads accounted for 86% of total cargo thefts. Facility theft was the second highest at 7%, while pilferage measured in at 4% and fictitious pickup accounted for 2% of robberies.
Unfortunately, cargo theft undermines the reliability of the industry, not entirely by a fault of its own, but by the tactful way in which cargo thieves are acquiring these items as well. Wherein previous years in Canada, cargo thieves engaged in identity theft and improper pick-ups, they have now reverted to pilfering goods when able, by following trucks and breaking into trailers when left unattended. While circle checks and the careful inspection of trailers and the products inside is crucial in reporting incidents as quickly as possible, several security measures can be put in place by carriers to reduce theft.
To mitigate cargo theft in Canada, the following measures are being suggested to carriers;
- Install tracking devices in trailers, no matter the cargo being shipped.
- Encourage drivers to communicate with dispatch if delivery specifications change.
- Install security systems in warehouses where cargo is stored, and on trucks themselves to notify drivers of -tampering of any kind.
- Ask driver’s to notify the police immediately if they suspect cargo has been stolen.
- Screen all employees thoroughly.
- Listen to employee concerns and work with them to provide resources and tools.
- Identify designated truck stops and parking areas that have increased security measures such as security personnel, cameras, and additional resources for drivers with high-value loads.
Break the Stigma
While there are many ways in which carriers can deter cargo theft from impacting their business and their clients, the stigma surrounding cargo theft needs to be addressed. One of the significant issues surrounding the theft of goods within the trucking industry is the lack of communication regarding it. While the National Cargo Theft Reporting Program and SensiGuard have a good understanding of the number of thefts occurring year over year, these numbers are only approximations as it is believed that underreporting is taking place. Many drivers and carriers think that reporting incidents of theft will negatively affect their reputation, but as can be seen in the past, cargo theft can impact any company no matter its size or reputation. To truly measure, track, and ultimately reduce cargo theft across North America, incidents must be reported to the authorities and be addressed promptly by carriers.
Cargo theft is not a new issue, but it is one that is increasing in 2018. If we are going to see a reduction in cargo theft across the country in the latter half of this year, we as carriers need to implement higher security measures, educate drivers on proper inspection procedures, and empower employees to remain transparent if theft does occur. Theft doesn’t only affect a business; it affects the economy, our country’s growth, and the reputation of the trucking industry as a whole.