Cargo theft trends impacting North American transportation industry
The North American Transportation sector experienced a 15% spike in reported cargo thefts in 2022, with the highest percentage of these incidents occurring during the final quarter of the year. The cargo theft prevention and recovery network, CargoNet, informed of an alarming 1,778 recorded cargo thefts throughout Canada and the United States during the last calendar year, with an average value of USD$214,104 per event.
As the supply chain disruptions continued to be one of the main concerns during the past year, scarcity and cost drove the illicit market demand for goods. The most frequently targeted items included household goods, electronic components and food related products.
CargoNet warns that the transportation industry needs to take steps to mitigate fictitious cargo pick-ups, a growing strategy, which blends identity fraud and cargo thievery, affecting all parties within the supply chain. Data shows 100 more recorded fictitious pick-ups in 2022 compared to the year prior, a 600% increase year-over-year.
“What we’re seeing is different, it’s a generational change,” said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet. “We still see trailers stolen from the side of the road, but the fraud is really what drove the numbers up. We went from 16 fraudulent thefts in 2021 to 116 or so last year. It’s very complicated how they’re doing it. It’s so complicated that law enforcement has a hard time figuring it out. They’re using load boards and they’re using unsuspecting drivers.”
With the continuous geo-political world crisis, as well as the expected downturn in the economy, many companies are predicting an increase in cargo thefts and attempts this year. Clients and shippers alike are encouraged to work closely with their transportation providers to ensure all parties involved are being thoroughly vetted to minimize any potential risks, as the involvement of organized crime continues to expand within the transportation industry.
The ongoing issues at inland rail terminals, most notably in Toronto and Montreal, are finally showing signs of improvement, which is a welcome relief to everyone. As most shippers are very aware, the problems at these destination terminals were quite severe. Overall high import volumes last summer and fall resulted in severe congestion, most notably at all Toronto rail terminals.
Coupled with this was a pronounced shortage of drayage availability, which compromised the fluidity of intermodal moves and only added to the congestion issues. The situation was so serious that in the early fall many truck carriers were so overwhelmed they had to announce they could not take on any new business. At the same time, due to limited available space at inland terminals, empty containers could not be returned in a timely manner.
The spinoff effect of these issues was a multitude of additional fees, all of which were directed to the shippers involved. These charges included terminal storage, truck carrier yard storage and steamship line detention and demurrage fees. In many instances, these extra fees amounted to thousands of dollars for a single intermodal container shipment and, as noted above, these costs were unavoidable.
The good news is the situation has changed quite dramatically over the past two months, with import volumes reducing, which allowed terminals to deal with the backlog of units. As on-hand cargo volume decreased, terminals were able to accept empty containers in a timely fashion and, because of this, drayage providers no longer had to hold containers at their yards, tying up their equipment.
This has resulted in a return to normal drayage operations, which simply means intermodal containers can be handled in a timely, efficient manner. Inbound containers can be delivered upon arrival and the empty containers are now being returned promptly, avoiding additional fees.
While the signs are optimistic, we have to be mindful the overall supply chain in Canada is fragile at best, as became painfully aware to everyone last year. Cyclical volume changes are the norm, with summer and fall being traditional “peak” seasons for shipping. However, other factors such as worldwide economies in general also affect supply chain composition and cargo volume, so what happens going forward remains to be seen.
For more information, contact David Lychek, Director – Ocean & Air Services.
2M alliance between Maersk and MSC to end
Maersk and MSC have mutually agreed to discontinue their 2M alliance, which is set to end in January 2025. The 2M alliance is a container shipping line vessel sharing agreement between Maersk and MSC, which was introduced in 2015.
The alliance was to assist each member to help cover as much of the shipping market as possible by combining their fleets of cargo ships, which allowed Maersk and MSC to increase their customer base globally, as well as offering more competitive prices.
Over the past few years, MSC and Maersk have embarked on their own distinctly different strategies, with MSC investing in enlarging their fleet by purchasing second hand vessels and ordering 1.8 million TEUs of newbuild capacity. Alternately, Maersk has been focusing on being an end-to-end logistics integrator, not on fleet expansion.
Two major shipping alliances (Ocean Alliance & The Alliance) remain after the dissolution of 2M. Analysts believe that the announcement of the termination of the 2M alliance may signal the beginning of a broad, industry-wide restructuring of current operational contracts, particularly on the east-west trade lanes, as both companies control about 1/3rd of the world’s container capacity.
For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Director – Freight Solutions.
This mall was built in 1981 and remained the largest mall in the world until 2004.
Global Spotlight Quiz
Name the city that features a world famous mall
The youngest and fastest growing city in the country.
The city’s River Valley is 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park.
During the summer this city can have up to 17 hours of daylight.
During the winter, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can be seen on a regular basis.
The city has at times been called Oil City.
Michael J. Fox was born in this city.
Also known as the City of Festivals because is hosts a lot of annual festivals.
For more information about shipping freight to or from this city, contact Debbie McGuire, Director – Freight Solutions.
By controlling your freight, you can choose the best routing and service level for your business
Time critical? If saving time saves you money, ensure your freight is moving on the fastest route available.
Cost the issue? Deferred services offer good savings.
Different carriers offer various service options, ranging from “no frills” to “executive treatment”.
Choose what works best for you.
Canadian Customs Operations (Head Office)
At Your Service: Daisy Nguyen, Canadian Customs Operations (Head Office)
Daisy Nguyen joined Universal Logistics in November 2021, as a member of our Head Office Customs Operations team. Daisy currently works with our Border Clearances team, where she processes the customs release of truck and courier shipments.
In September 2021, Daisy successfully completed the Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) designation.
Daisy can be reached by phone (905) 882-4880, ext. 1250 or by email.
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