Cargo theft continues to be a growing problem in the U.S., especially in the trucking industry, as trailers are easy to steal and their goods easily sold by criminal enterprises.
That’s why St. Augustine, FL-based Secure Trailer Lots plans to rapidly expand its national chain of secure parking facilities, offering carriers, owner-operators, and manufacturers short- or long-term parking for their trailers in areas protected by guards and camera systems. Online reporting is also available so customers can check on the status of their trailers in real time via the Internet.
“Changing methods for shipping high-value cargo are cited by many analysts as the major contributor to increasing cargo theft in the transportation sector,” said Mel McKern, vp for Secure Trailer Lots.
“Containerization of cargo inadvertently encourages increased organized criminal presence in freight transportation,” he added. “Cargo terminals, which manage the loading, unloading, storage, and transfer of these containers, are particularly vulnerable to penetration.”
Annual losses to cargo theft are hard to pin down. They range from $3.5 billion to between $10 billion and $15 billion per year annually, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – as estimated by the International Cargo Security Council – or almost 3.1% percent of annual surface transportation general freight revenue.
Indirect costs related to cargo theft – not including all law enforcement or security technology costs – range from $20 billion to $60 billion each year, according to several industry estimates.
“Cargo theft is our number-one priority in Major Theft,” said Eric Ives, who heads the Major Theft Unit in the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division in a report issued by the agency last year. “There’s never been a time when there's not enough work.”According to Ives, the average freight on a trailer is valued between $12,000 and $3 million and theft “hotspots” are truck yards, hubs for commercial freight carriers and port cities.