Food and beverage shipments most targeted in cargo theft incidents

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Food and beverages were among the top commodities targeted in North American cargo theft incidents last year, according to a recent report from BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions.

BSI is a leading global provider of supply chain intelligence, auditing services, risk management compliance solutions and advisory services. The report was released in partnership with the TT Club, an international provider of insurance and related risk management services for the transportation and logistics industry.

While cargo theft tactics varied from country-to-country in North America, one trend stayed consistent across borders: edible cargo was in high demand.

“BSI recorded more thefts of food and beverage shipments in North America over any other type of good,” the report reads. “Other types of goods that thieves frequently stole include consumer products, construction materials and electronics.”

Food and beverage shipments accounted for 34 percent of cargo theft in 2018. Consumer products came in 18 percent, construction materials at 12 percent, electronics at 5 percent and alcohol or tobacco at 4 percent, according to the report. About 27 percent of cargo theft was classified as “other.”

The large majority of North America’s cargo theft happens in Mexico, which accounts for 69 percent of all incidents in the region. The United States comes in second place at 22 percent, and Canada makes up only 5 percent of incidents. Costa Rica, Honduras and “other” all make up 1 to 2 percent of cargo theft incidents each.

“North America balances between two types of cargo theft, split between the more reserved thefts of unattended cargo trucks that BSI records in the United States and Canada and the aggressive and often violent hijackings characteristic of Mexico and the majority of Central America,” the report reads. “Thieves in the United States and Canada most frequently steal unattended cargo trucks parked at unsecure locations, including truck stops and gas stations. Hijackings in these two countries are extremely rare.”

Since the majority of North America’s cargo theft happens in Mexico, hijacking was the most common tactic used in 2018, making up 38 percent of all incidents. Theft of the entire vehicle and theft of the trailer both came in at 25 percent. Theft from facilities and theft from vehicles made up a much smaller portion of incidents, according to the report.

About 66 percent of cargo theft in North America happens during transit, meaning warehouses are not targeted nearly as often as trucks on the move. Theft from warehouses makes up just 11 percent of all cases.

Cargo transported by truck is the target of 82 percent of all theft incidents, significantly higher than cargo moved by any other means, including rail, sea and air.

Cargo theft across North America is most common on Wednesdays, according to the report.