Port storage increasingly targeted for cargo theft

Congestion in ports is prompting a rise in reported cases of cargo theft from storage facilities according to new data. Freight insurance specialists TT Club and the supply chain services and solutions team at BSI have highlighted the increased risk of theft from storage facilities seen over the past few months in the US.

The changes in theft patterns from the same quarter last year highlight a trend away from ‘on the move’ targets to those locations where cargo is temporarily stored and delivered. These locations include traditional warehouses and depots where containers and trailers are being held awaiting collection, many of which are temporary facilities in port areas without adequate security regimes.

The largest rise in the methods and locations for cargo theft was from facilities: the percentage of the total increasing to 25% in the third quarter this year in contrast with just 7% in 2020. At the other extreme, theft of vehicles fell from a dominant 47% in 2020 to 15%; in addition, hijackings halved from 20% to 10%.

Mike Yarwood, TT Club’s managing director for loss prevention, said: “There is little doubt that the problems of supply chain disruption that are currently bedevilling the US freight transport system – particularly that of container congestion at ports and inland hubs – is creating increased opportunities for thieves. The static nature of cargo in these circumstances, often stored in temporary and less secure facilities, leads to criminal ingenuity adapting the modus operandi of theft in a typically resourceful way.”

TT is keen to use the data provided by BSI Screen in identifying shifts in cargo theft trends and bring them to the attention of operators in as timely as a fashion as possible. Yarwood added: “Whatever the location and means of cargo theft, such incidents can often be averted through straightforward due diligence, management processes and employee vetting and training.”

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