Goods of substantially high value are transported across the Canada through trailers on a daily basis. Recently, this has attracted the interests of small, medium and established criminal syndicates that steal the cargo. Unlike before, today’s trends in cargo theft are characterized by high levels of organizational sophistication and complex endeavors. Admittedly, the situation is only getting worse by the day as the criminal organizations become more involved, some of them even taking advantage of the technology to realize even bigger returns. What is more surprising and worrying is the relentless determination that these thieves exhibit when executing their missions. Perhaps this could be explained by the fact that there is a ready market for the stolen cargo, which is the black market.
There are certain factors that greatly affect the safety of the cargo as far as the current trends in cargo theft are concerned. These factors include the contents of your cargo, the destination, the times of traveling and finally the tracking methods that you employ. We are going to look at each of these factors individually in more detail and then recommend an appropriate risk management approach that can be used to reverse these negative trends.
Contents of the Container
The type of cargo you are carrying in your container has an immense impact on the safety of the cargo in general. Most of the time, the cargo thieves find mixed loads to be very lucrative for the black market economy and the reason is simple; this type of cargo rarely has a precise tracking basis like a tracking number or unique serial number. This makes it easier for the thieves to resale the stolen cargo to the market without the potential risk of being tracked down. Generic goods like clothing and household goods are usually the main target for the cargo thieves. For instance, something like laundry detergent can be split into distributable portions within a short time which can be easily supplied to the market and blend with the rest of one’s inventory.
The generic goods are certainly not the only cargo being targeted these days. As the trend continues to take roots in the industry, other types of goods are also becoming targets slowly but surely. For example, food products and groceries are also becoming easy and lucrative targets for the cargo thieves in Canada. Other than being easy to resell, these products are also considered very difficult to track.
The Cargo’s Destination
The intensity of cargo theft in Canada varies depending on the destination to which the cargo is headed. Some cities are known to be notorious with cargo thefts while others are absolutely safe. The provinces of Quebec and Ontario have the reputation of being the riskiest when it comes to cargo thefts. The targeted cities include Montreal and Toronto, where specific goods are continuously stolen due to their ease of reselling. Auto parts and metal, despite being easy to track, are very lucrative to the cargo thieves in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario and for this reason, they are stolen anyway.
The specific goods being stolen in Southern Ontario are foods and meat in particular, which is surprising especially considering the advanced logistics involved in its transportation and distribution. Being a highly perishable product, meet requires special transportation like refrigerated trucks. With such sophistication involved, it is surprising that the cargo thieves could still pursue such perishable goods. However, the reselling of such products in the black market guarantees some lucrative returns, which justifies all the money and time that cargo thieves are willing to invest in a single heist.
The Traveling Time
Most cargo thefts happen either during long weekends or holidays. If cargo happens to be in transit during one of these times, the chances of a theft occurring a usually very high. It is also worth noting that stagnant cargo can be highly vulnerable to theft especially if it is in a less secure yard. What happens is that the longer the cargo stays in transit, the more time the thieves have to execute the heist. For instance, if a load of cargo happens to be found in an insecure yard on a long weekend, the thieves will have enough time to carry out the unloading without anyone noticing.
Therefore, it means that your cargo should always be moving to avoid any form of theft. In addition to that, one should make sure that their cargo arrives at the intended destination within the shortest time possible. This goes a long way in minimizing or even completely eliminating the possibility of a theft to occur. It is absolutely necessary to avoid any form of time-wasting when transporting cargo from one point to another because it is during these moments that thieves get the opportunity to organize themselves and carry out a theft.
In a recent couple of months, most of the cargo thefts have been executed by means of identity theft and this can be attributed to the poor tracking system in place. Faking one’s identity made easier because the thieves are able to find loopholes in the tracking system and explore them accordingly. For instance, the thieves log into the load brokers’ website, locate a targeted load and duplicate documents that enable them to access these targeted loads. Unless a real-time tracking system is adopted, the cargo thefts facilitated through identity thefts will continue to be a problem in Canada.
It is recommended to implement a fleet management system. This will work hand in hand with other asset tracking systems to help mitigate the cyber-related risks. The losses related to cargo theft are quite high and the numbers keep rising. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. By seeking the intervention of a risk management professional, an appropriate strategy can be developed to turn things around for the better as far as the cargo theft trends go.