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Cargo Theft on the Rise, Report both CargoNet and Overhaul


Category: Transportation and Logistics


925 Theft Incidents in the US in Q1, CargoNet Finds, while Overhaul Finds Big Jump in Large Thefts

June 5, 2024

Two interesting new reports on US cargo thefts in Q1.


First up, the latest quarterly data from freight security firm CargoNet.

Its analysis found that cargo theft in the US soared in Q1, a continuation of what CargoNet characterizes as a “sustained crime wave that began in late 2022.”

Supply Chain Digest Says...


Meanwhile, freight monitoring service provider Overhaul reported this week that its Q1 analysis found 11 cargo theft events in the US with a total value exceeding $1 million.

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CargoNet documented a significant theft-related 925 incidents, resulting in a 46% increase compared to the first quarter of 2023 and a 10% rise from the fourth quarter of 2023.

The analysis also found that the average stolen shipment value in the first quarter of 2024 was about $282,000, while the declared total value was $76 million across all incidents.

By extrapolating the average shipment value across events without a declared value, CargoNet estimates that a total of $154.6 million worth of goods were stolen during this period.

While reported events increased in most states, the most significant spikes were observed in California (with a +72% year-over-year increase), Illinois (with a +126% year-over-year increase), and Texas (with a +22% year-over-year increase).

CargoNet also found that popular targets by goods type included small appliances, liquor, energy drinks, and copper, but a wide range of industries are impacted by cargo theft.

A key trend in driving the theft number higher is the growth of complex fraud schemes, CargoNet says. This often involves document forgery, with cargo thieves pretending to be legitimate drivers to fraudulently secure a load. They then drive the load to its intended destination and partially unload it and alter the bill of lading to show the complete load was delivered.

Nonetheless, simple cargo theft, including the whole theft of unattended, loaded trailers and pilferage of unattended, loaded trailers, remained a persistent issue. The report says notable hotspots for such thefts included Southern California, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, as well as the corridor spanning New York, North Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Looking ahead to the second quarter and beyond, CargoNet anticipates that high levels of non-delivery thefts and strategic shortages will persist.


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Meanwhile, freight monitoring service provider Overhaul reported this week that its Q1 analysis found 11 cargo theft events in the US with a total value exceeding $1 million.

That was up from just a single such event during the first quarter of 2023, five events in Q2-2023, seven events in Q3-2023, and nine events in Q4-2023.

Overhaul also found that cargo thieves are increasingly targeting high value goods over basic freight, despite the increased level of planning needed to pull off a successful heist and the elevated consequences if they get caught.


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