TORONTO, Ont. – Canadian cargo thieves are mostly stealing grocery and household items, but meat products are also becoming a primary target, according to a new report from Northbridge Insurance.
Mixed load cargo such as grocery and household items topped the list of the most commonly stolen loads in 2018, the report found, but well-funded criminal networks have begun to hone in on meat products. One such load was valued at $200,000. Northbridge says these heists require a coordinated effort and investment in specialized equipment to prevent spoilage.
Thieves are also increasingly targeting the trailers, which they dismantle, making it virtually impossible to recover.
Northbridge found most reported thefts occur in Ontario, but more consistent reporting from Western Canada has indicated an increase in missing lumber loads and heavy equipment. Thieves are also taking advantage of technology to steal loads, by breaching online broker sites, selecting high-value deliveries, and then collecting them ahead of schedule using a false identity.
Northbridge warns the holiday season is a peak time for cargo thefts.
“These losses are having a direct impact on carriers’ bottom lines, and bring a huge reputational risk,” said Garry Robertson, who leads the Claims Special Investigations Unit at Northbridge. “For consumers, stolen products are often hiding in plain sight. The saying, ‘It fell off the back of a truck,’ may once have referred to a great deal, but it’s important to start asking where goods are coming from. Eventually, costs will increase.”
Northbridge was able to get a better view of cargo theft trends by analyzing voluntary reports from industry, stemming from a collaboration between the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance.