Thieves made away with $223 million worth of cargo in Canada and the U.S. last year, according to CargoNet estimates. The network that tracks cargo thefts also recorded 1,778 supply chain risk events — an increase of 15% over 2021.
Scarcity and costs made things like computer graphics cards, raw beef, poultry and pork some of the most-targeted goods last year. While capacity eased in the later months of 2022, thefts were still prominent.
Thefts that involved at least one heavy commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck or semi-trailer increased by 17% year-over-year, while events that involved cargo theft increased 20% year-over-year.
A single event could involve one or more stolen vehicles or shipments. The average value of cargo stolen in an event was $214,104. Increases in theft activity around major intermodal hubs were significant. California remained the top state for reported events in 2022 and theft in the state increased 41% year-over-year.
Stolen household items
Household items ranked highest among the most stolen commodities in 2022. It’s a diverse category that includes appliances and furniture that are often targeted during longhaul and Final Mile trips alike. There was also a notable increase in stolen shipments of tools and toys.
Stolen electronics ranked close behind them. While thefts of computer electronics decreased by 37% compared to 2021, the losses reached unprecedented highs in 2021. Additionally, thefts of televisions and other displays nearly doubled from 2021.
CargoNet advised members of the supply chain to take steps to mitigate “fictitious cargo pickups”, a blend of identity theft and cargo theft.
The crime relies heavily on subcontracting a shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and having the shipment misdirected to another address.
It recorded 96 such pickups in 2022, a 600% increase year-over-year. Most of these thefts (74%) occurred in California, but the crime is spreading. Shipments of solar modules, auto parts, and vehicle maintenance products like engine oil were most at risk, but the threat extends to most categories of goods.
Logistics brokers and shippers can help prevent fictitious cargo pickups by verifying any bids on shipments — using a motor carrier’s contact information on file with the FMCSA, and verifying that the name of the motor carrier and driver matches those who earned the shipment.