It’s that time of year again. The Christmas Season is notoriously known to be the worst time for cargo thefts. Aside from the financial impacts of cargo theft there is an increasing level of violence being used against truckers. Cargo theft has also found a place in organized crime, which provides a network of criminals to steal and distribute stolen cargo typically through illegal markets. Unfortunately, cargo theft appears to be an enticing venture for criminals. It offers high profit margins and is relatively low risk, but can generate enormous rewards and has minimal criminal sentencing. Cargo theft is under-reported in Canada for a number of reasons, including the negative impact on reputation, the perception of cargo theft as a low-level crime, increased insurance premiums and the cost of paying deductibles in the event of a claim.
Cargo theft can take place in freight forwarding yards, carrier/terminal lots, truck stops, warehouses and especially, during transportation. Infiltrating companies through identity theft is a common method used. For
example, a cargo thief will fraudulently assume the identity of a carrier and make what seems to be a legitimate pickup of cargo at a dock or shipyard; any suspicion of the theft is not raised until the load fails to arrive at its intended destination or the actual carrier arrives. At that point, the stolen cargo could be anywhere! The trucking industry needs to be proactive and needs to implement heightened security measures. For the most part, we have caught on and are doing way more than we used to. Having guards controlling access to the cargo; using technology such as tracking devices and GPS systems to monitor cargo and trucks; requiring employees to verify the identities of drivers and carriers; implementing a techno-based asset tracking or inventory control system; and, requiring carriers to implement measures, such as 5th wheel pin locks and electrical cut-off switches lends itself to deterring these thefts.
The transportation industry is working in concert with law enforcement and on November 18, 2010, Bill S-9, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (otherwise known as the Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act) was given Royal Assent. In relation to cargo theft, the offences of trafficking in property obtained by crime (now Section 355.2) and possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking (now Section 355.4) were created. The new offences under Sections 355.2 and 355.4 cover property valued at $5,000 or more and are indictable offences subject to imprisonment for a term of 14 years or less (now Section 355.5), previously an under 10 year sentence could be enforced. Harsher penalties equal better deterrents.
Cargo Theft will always be a “cost of doing business”, but with some diligence and care, we can all keep those costs down!
About the Author
Lisa Arseneau is as passionate today as she was the first day she started and has been in the insurance industry since 1997. She is in her nineteenth year as an insurance broker for the transportation industry with H L Staebler Insurance Brokers.
Lisa Arseneau, R.I.B.O.
Staebler Insurance Brokers
Ph 519.743.5228 x222 | Fax 519.743.7464| Cell: 647-286-5311