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Metal Cargo Thefts Up 254%; FreightWatch International

(April 25, 2012) — The theft of metal truck loads in the U.S. increased by a whopping 254 percent, according to FreightWatch International, with criminals now stealing loads of metal at a rate of 15.3 thefts per month.

In its report titled “Cargo Theft and the Metal Industry,” FreightWatch says there were more metal cargo thefts recorded in the first quarter of 2012 than all of 2010 and more than half in 2011.

FreightWatch says the theft of metal, copper specifically, is a growing trend worldwide.

“Theft of copper in bulk from the supply chain is occurring around the globe, not to mention the rampant stealing of valuable metals from infrastructure such as power stations, rail lines, and even home exteriors,” FreightWatch said in the report, noting that criminals in some countries are prone to extreme measures of violence.

Organizations need to focus on supply chain security as the increasing trend of cargo theft is expected to continue throughout the year and into 2013, FreightWatch added.

The firm noted that several factors regarding the rise of metal thefts are comparable to trends that were seen in the pharmaceutical sector from 2006 through 2010.

“As thefts in the pharmaceutical industry grew substantially, the industry awareness and willingness to curb theft activity through proactive supply chain security programs transitioned from negligible to being relatively common and standardized throughout shippers in the industry,” the report states.

In addition, FreightWatch says that the trend toward “deceptive pickups” as a form of theft is continuing.

Deceptive pickups are stolen loads through fraudulent  online brokering sites criminals use to impersonate legitimate carriers and win business from shippers. The loads, of course, never arrive at the destination.