FreightWatch: Cargo theft losses on the rise

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While thefts rates vary between commodity groups and industries, across the board the average loss per cargo theft incident is sharply on the rise, according to global logistics security provider FreightWatch International’s Bi-Annual Cargo Theft Report.

FreightWatch recorded 74 cargo theft incidents in the month of June, well beyond the average of 48 to 50 thefts per month recorded throughout 2008 and 2009. Cell phones, in particular, are being stolen at a rate of 50 percent higher than in 2008, and at an average loss per incident has risen from $1.1 million in 2008 to $2.1 million in 2009.

“In contrast, full truckload pharmaceutical thefts rates are down,” says Barry Conlon, president of Austin, Texas-based FreightWatch USA. “The significant decrease in the number of pharmaceutical cargo thefts is attributed to the hardening of supply chains in the top pharmaceutical companies in the United States.” Pharmaceutical companies are taking steps to secure their supply chain, protecting their high-value temperature-sensitive medications and products, according to FreightWatch; research indicates that those pharmaceutical companies choosing not to secure their supply chains are the ones suffering the losses this year.

The research conducted by FreightWatch shows that the average loss per incident for virtually every commodity group except pharmaceuticals and electronics has increased significantly from the first six months of 2008 to the same time period in 2009.