Cargo Crime is a Growing Threat
An initiative supported by the Canadian Trucking Alliance called Project Momentum, which was launched to raise awareness and combat the growing threat of cargo crime, appears to be paying off, with large broadcasters and national newspapers picking up the story including CBC News and the Globe and Mail.
One of the challenges in combating cargo crime has been a lack of statistics about frequency and associated costs, partly due to reluctance among carriers to report incidents. Carriers are being encouraged to report thefts and create greater awareness of the problem among enforcement agencies and the media. In September, CBC News-Hamilton reported on the problem following the theft of 40,000 lb of meat from a terminal in Ancaster. The Globe and Mail also featured an article on the issue on October 20, 2013, reporting that the theft of truck cargo is a low-profile crime that nevertheless costs the freight industry millions or even billions of dollars a year, as organized criminal gangs roam transportation hubs and look for rigs left unattended at industrial yards.
From the viewpoint of a criminal, it is a very low-risk, high-reward activity. Thieves will haul away mobile phones and computer gear but also diapers, tires, pharmaceuticals and batteries. Cargo crime has become a major headache in particular for businesses in transportation hubs and shipping gateways, such as Vancouver, Montreal, and southern Ontario.
It is important for carriers to be vigilant; one of the weak spots for this kind of theft occurs if drivers have to wait for appointed times before delivery, allowing their trailers to sit unattended in a yard while they wait to be picked up. Thieves will often use spotters who identify trailers with attractive cargo in the early evening or on a weekend, coming back after dark with a stolen tractor to pull the trailer away.
For more information on this topic, please see CTA Project Momentum Gaining Traction With Media by the BC Trucking Association (October 25, 2013) and From Electronics to Diapers, Highway Hijackers Haul Away Millions a Year in Cargo by Tu Thanh Ha, The Globe and Mail (October 20, 2013).
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
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