Cargo theft on the rise – report

1,778 supply chain risk events were recorded in the US and Canada last year

Cargo theft on the rise – report


By Ryan Smith

An estimated $223 million in cargo was stolen during 2022, according to a new analysis by Verisk’s CargoNet.

CargoNet recorded 1,778 supply chain risk events in the US and Canada last year, a 15% increase from 2021. Supply chain concerns were one of the top concerns of the year because of their impact on inflation.

Scarcity and cost spurred illicit demands for goods most affected by supply chain issues, like computer graphics cards and raw beef, poultry and pork, CargoNet said. Available capacity eased in the later months of the year, but theft remained a prominent risk.

Events involving the theft of at least one heavy commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck or trailer were up 17% year over year, while events involving the theft of cargo spiked by 20% annually. It is important to note that a single event could involve the theft of more than one vehicle or shipment.

The average value of cargo stolen in an event was $214,104, CargoNet said. An estimated $223 million in cargo was stolen across all cargo theft events last year.

2022 saw significant increases in theft around major intermodal hubs. California remained the top state for reported theft events in 2022, with theft in the state spiking by 41% year over year. Computer and green energy components were among the most frequently stolen items in 2022, and California is a major logistics hub for these items.

Theft in Georgia spiked by 34% year over year, partly driven by organized crime groups taking advantage of increased traffic at the Port of Savannah. Georgia shut down a state task force to investigate cargo theft in 2020, CargoNet said.

Household items were the most commonly stolen commodity last year. This category includes appliances and furniture, which are often targeted during long-haul and final-mile distribution. There was also an increase in theft of shipments of tools and toys.

Theft of electronics closely followed theft of household items. While there was a 37% decrease in theft of computer electronics last year, theft of those products shot to unprecedented levels in 2021, and theft in 2022 was still elevated compared to baseline levels. Theft of televisions and other displays nearly doubled from 2021.

CargoNet also recommended that the industry should take steps to stem the tide of fictitious cargo pickups. The company recorded 96 more fictitious pickups in 2022 compared to the prior year, a 600% year-over-year increase.

Most fictitious pickups occurred in California (74% of the total). However, CargoNet noted that the crime is spreading across the country. Shipments of solar modules, auto parts and vehicle maintenance products were most at risk from fictitious pickup, but the threat extends to most categories of goods, CargoNet said.

Have something to say about this story? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!