Cargo crime is still a growing concern in Canada, in the last five years over 60 million dollars worth of goods have been stolen on trailers. The number one choice of merchandise – food and beverages. Although cargo theft doesn’t receive as much public attention as other crimes, it is one that affects your pocketbooks and safety on the road.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, “Cargo theft involves stealing trucks and transport trailers full of merchandise. After stealing the vehicle or trailer, the criminals offload the cargo, which can be worth thousands of dollars, parcel it and sell it for a quick profit, often before the crime is reported.” Theft can be committed by an individual who simply sees an opportunity and takes a risk hoping merchandise looted can be easily sold, others have a more organized and targeted theft strategy. There have been many cases reported where specific manufacturers or brands are being targeted and some crimes are so organized they even have warehouses to distribute their acquired goods from.
Stealing food and beverage goods is attractive because it is low-risk and has a high-return. Trailers are on wheels, making them mobile targets. Food can be moved quickly and unloaded easily to legitimate warehouses, corner stores and farmer markets. In most cases customers have no knowledge they are purchasing stolen goods.
Cargo theft affects consumer’s in many ways. It jeopardizes your safety when you are on the road, just last week a truck and trailer with stolen meat products ran into an Esso gas station and two cars in the GTA. The driver of the stolen vehicle died at the scene and the two drivers of the cars involved in the collision were taken to the hospital. To add to this unfortunate occurrence, a hydro pole was damaged leaving 2,000 houses without hydro. High rates of cargo theft also result in increased prices for consumer goods as insurance premiums go up, and the relationship between supply and demand is interrupted.
Erb has taken precautions to help combat cargo theft and keep our roads safe. Cargo theft rates did lower in 2019 and we hope to continue to see this trend in 2020, as carriers continue to work together to keep the market safe. Increasing security at our yards, training and educating employees is a key component to recognize potential threats, using technology to identify if a cargo theft has happened and locate equipment, are just some of the ways we are working to help deter theft. “Be proactive, stay informed and add layers to your existing security systems when budgets allow. Don’t wait for something to happen to add systems and training, if you do those costs are already gone from your bottom line,” Jamie Sullivan, Corporate Security and Safety Manager.