Cargo Thefts on the Rise: The Kiplinger Letter

Organized crime rings are targeting goods in shipments.

To help you understand what is going on in the trucking and shipping sector and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

It isn’t just stores dealing with a plague of retail thefts. Organized crime rings are also targeting goods in shipments. One operation that was broken up earlier this year in southern California had stolen 200 truckloads of goods. 

Thieves are forging phony papers when picking up cargo shipments and then disappearing. They may also pose as legitimate companies that fool brokers into hiring them for a job but never deliver the product. Some even register with federal authorities as a “new” company and then steal as much as they can before they can be audited. Targeted goods, like electronics, tend to be easily resold.

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Criminals are aggressively eyeing containers in backlogged ports filled with everything from home appliances to apparel and more. Union Pacific reported a rash of cargo container break-ins as shipments were transported out of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, according to Freight Waves.

Shippers need to be extra careful when checking a trucker’s paperwork before hiring them. Some shippers are even refusing to use any trucking company in operation for less than 90 days to avoid fraudulent operators that pop up and disappear. Sensors can track cargo in transit and alert shippers to deviations in planned routes, and services like Carrier411, TIA Watchdog, Convoy and CargoNet can verify trucker IDs.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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David Payne
Staff Economist, The Kiplinger Letter

David is both staff economist and reporter for The Kiplinger Letter, overseeing Kiplinger forecasts for the U.S. and world economies. Previously, he was senior principal economist in the Center for Forecasting and Modeling at IHS/GlobalInsight, and an economist in the Chief Economist's Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce. David has co-written weekly reports on economic conditions since 1992, and has forecasted GDP and its components since 1995, beating the Blue Chip Indicators forecasts two-thirds of the time. David is a Certified Business Economist as recognized by the National Association for Business Economics. He has two master's degrees and is ABD in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.