Another look at 2014 cargo theft figures: $89.5 million in freight stolen, thieves putting in effort for high-value loads

CargoNet’s heat map of cargo theft activity from 2014. Each dot represents a theft.CargoNet’s heat map of cargo theft activity from 2014. Each dot represents a theft.

Just shy of $90 million in cargo was stolen in 2014 in truck-trailer cargo theft incidents, according to a report released this month by CargoNet. Nearly half of that was high-value electronics loads, which averaged $549,539 in stolen goods per theft incident and totaled $42 million in the year.

CargoNet’s figures are similar to those also released this month by FreightWatch International, with both reporting a small drop in the number of overall incidents but a sizable jump in the average loss value per incident.

The number of incidents in the year fell to 844, CargoNet reports, down from 2013’s 1,098. The average loss value jumped from $143,957 in 2013 to $181,681 in 2014.

CargoNet also says carriers and truck operators should be more attentive to vehicles trailing them, as the rise in organized cargo theft rings has given rise to thieves talking shipments from their point of origin, sometimes trailing loads hundreds of miles and across multiple states waiting on drivers to leave their truck and trailer unattended.

“Truckers should frequently make sure they’re not being followed, especially by a car with multiple occupants and out-of-state plates,” CargoNet warns in its report.

FreightWatch International in its 2014 report noted a similar trend, saying growing sophistication among thieves will likely mean fewer theft incidents but more targeted and highly planned thefts.