Mind Your Cargo in the Summer Months – Cargo Theft Is Rife
Unfortunately for them, cargo theft is at an all time high and what’s worse, is that organized cargo thieves are resorting to even more sophisticated means to acquire the goods they want.
Last year, the average value of a cargo heist increased; in Mexico this went up by 23% on the previous year, whilst Brazil saw an increase of 5.7% despite the decrease in the number of actual thefts according to a report by FreightWatch.
In Africa statistics are much harder to come by, but the number of violent thefts is remarkably higher, as are the number of hijackings. Piracy is also a problem, particularly around Somalia where ships are boarded and held to ransom. Of the statistics that are available, April 2010 to April 2011 saw a total of 999 truck hijackings although experts believe that many may have gone unreported for fear of a backlash from militant groups and militia in the area.
Where violent crime is rife, opportunistic theft is prevalent. In more developed countries however, cargo theft is much harder and requires careful planning and execution, sometimes using the latest technology. Some organized cargo thieves are going as far as to impersonate logistics companies, placing fake road diversions and having goods loaded into their own vehicles after stealing company shipment itineraries. Other criminals instead set up fake businesses to gain access to cargo storage yards and other shipments.
Due to the increasing complexity of such thefts, many companies that fall victim to such crime find that cargo thieves usually receive inside help, or find that they have fallen victim to hacking; where external entities have been able to gain access to confidential information such as the personal details of drivers to forge ID badges; to emailed memos on security.
There are a number of things that a business can do however to protect its cargo. Prevention is better than cure, so increasing the visible security measures will help fend off opportunists; either by increasing the size and complexity of locks, installing additional cctv cameras, increasing or better equipping security guards are a few options.
Education and training are another big step. Understanding how these thieves operate helps businesses to avoid falling prey to scams, i.e. calling the delivery depot to ensure that a road diversion is legitimate. Training drivers to double check the identity of those who take delivery of goods and ensuring that they never leave their cargo unattended is a great way to start.
Such measures however, will not fend off expert cargo thieves where the stakes are high. Where companies are involved in shipping luxury goods or electronics, it can often be more cost effective to invest in comprehensive Cargo Insurance Cover. Provided the policy is worded correctly, a company with the right cover should be able to make a claim against the loss and theft of cargo. Where extra cover is added, some may also be able to gain financial help in fulfilling business obligations they can no longer meet as a result of the loss… helping them to recover and helping them to avoid damaging client relations.