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Reported Trends in Cargo Theft: How Not to Get Caught Out This Holiday Season

Statistics compiled from CargoNet and its associated partners as part of a larger survey in America show that consumer electronics, food and clothing are the three most stolen types of cargo; whilst truck stops and rest areas are among the locations that are most frequently targeted as part of organized cargo theft.
During the Christmas period, more cargo of these types is being shipped, giving organized cargo thieves greater opportunity.
Theft from these locations accounts for almost a third of all cargo theft incidents, according to statistics published by Chubb.
These are then followed by modal yards and unsecured locations such as drop lots and parking areas near hotels, motels and restaurants.
This adds weight to the advice that Marine Cargo Insurance Brokers have been giving to shippers and business people all season.
You you should always know where your cargo is and you must ensure that if any part of the transportation of your goods is subcontracted to another party, that your security requirements are signed off upon.
The reason for this is that once part of the transportation process is sub contracted, this area of work can then be sub contracted further until you have no idea as to who is responsible for your cargo and neither will you be aware of the security standards and safeguards that they have in place.
One such example was cargo container 307703 which arrived on the western edge of Genoa.
It was found to contain a cylinder housing a slowly alchemizing pellet of Cobalt-60, which irradiated everything in the vicinity up to over 25 meters away.
The history held for the movement of this container was sketchy and the records show that it had gone missing for a period in Saudi Arabia.
In signing off on your security requirements, the companies that are contracted to transport your cargo accept all liability if their security standards are found to deviate from your requirements.
So in the event of theft or cargo loss due to their negligence, you will be covered by them.
If their own security standards meet the requirements of both you and your Cargo Insurance Policy, then in the unlikely event that something untoward should happen to your goods, you should be able to make a successful claim.
For goods that are travelling over long distances, a more comprehensive insurance policy should be in place.
Marine Cargo Insurance provides cover for cargo moved by air and sea, whilst Goods in Transit Insurance covers those goods moved over land.
So for those shipments that travel over land, by sea and by air, a combination of both policies ought to be in effect.
The problem when shipping cargo, is that over longer distances, many transport types may intervene and it is when cargo changes hands that it is at its most vulnerable.
Recently, a shipment of televisions was stolen in California; but because the shipper had taken the necessary precautions and knew where their cargo should have been, the local police were then able to limit their surveillance to 140 suitable storage locations.
Combined with information received from CargoNet, the investigation led to the recovery of the goods valued at over $1million, as well as the recovery of items from seven other thefts including clothing, electronics and household items.
It just goes to show that taking these preventative measures really does make a difference.
With the advent of CargoNet back in 2010, more actionable information can now be handed to the authorities when incidents like this arise, making it harder for organized cargo thieves.
Unfortunately, CargoNet is primarily an American initiative and so for those shippers that do not regularly ship to the US, it is still highly important that pre-emptive action is taken.
Securing confidential cargo information, conducting employee background checks and ensuring that you are covered with comprehensive Marine Liability Insurance and Goods in Transit Insurance is key.
If you are unsure of what sort of cover is best suited to you, you need to speak to a specialist Marine Insurance Broker Maintaining cargo security continues to be a focus, particularly with the threat of terror attacks being ever present.
Yet, as the industry progresses its work with the authorities and shippers better educate themselves on their own cargo security, the industry can expect future reductions in their own cargo losses.

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