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Cargo Theft Statistics and Trends

Cargo theft can occur anywhere along the supply chain, affecting local logistics, transporters, storage yards, groupage operators, LCL consolidators, ports, depots, terminals, insurance, carriers and freight forwarders equally. BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions assesses that companies lose more than an estimated $76 million in UK alone due to cargo theft highlighting the seriousness of this issue.

Our report brings together threat and intelligence data from BSI’s supply chain security country risk intelligence tool, SCREEN and Moovit’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights. We aim to engage in a proactive approach in preventing cargo crime and also minimising the financial loss resulting from cargo crime.

Mike Yarwood, shipping & warehouse lead, Moovit

South America topped the regional analysis with a whopping median value of $77,000 per theft, followed by Europe, USA, MEA, and Asia. While the research found that there were commonalities in the modalities involved and in the commodities targeted, there was some variation in the median value of the cargo affected. In terms of the types of cargo theft itself, Slash and Grabs had the biggest percentages 26% and hijackings accounting for 17%.

Hijacking was the most common method used in North and South America at 37% and 52% respectively whereas in Asia, theft from a facility was the most common at 43% compared with just 19% from hijacking. Insider threat has been identified by this report as a common vulnerability across the globe.. As organisations evolve and are becoming more and more secure in terms of cybersecurity, access controls etc, the recruitment of insiders becomes a more attractive option for those attempting to gain access.


  1. Penny Oswale says:

    Cargo theft has been around for centuries. History has seen robbers attacking merchants on trading roads, to pirates seizing ships at sea, to bandits on horseback robbing stage coaches.

    1. Kate Lisson says:

      Fast forward to today. Trucks have replaced horse-drawn wagons, and today’s cargo theft perpetrators are often part of international crime syndicates. The global economic crisis increased demand for black-market goods. But cargo theft statistics are difficult to track.

  2. Kate Lisson says:

    Adding to the cargo theft problem is the fact that it is seen as a low-risk, high-reward type of crime carrying minor criminal penalties. The FBI reports that less than 20 percent of stolen cargo is ever recovered.

    1. Keila Marken says:

      Some good news is that, according to Sensitech’s SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Cargo Theft Annual Report, overall reported cargo thefts during the first quarter of 2018 declined 22 percent, with a 15 percent drop in dollar value versus the same period in 2017.

  3. Hunt Merchent says:

    Friday afternoons, when companies are most pressured to get freight off the dock, may present the highest risk of falling victim to this strategy. The thieves hope the stress of getting the freight moving may lead to less scrutiny of credentials at pickup.

    1. Denis Roneld says:

      The value of stolen cargo from a retailer, either from the warehouse or in transit to a store, drops directly to the shrink line. A major component of loss prevention’s success is low shrink. Learn all you can about cargo theft and how to prevent it.

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