Cargo Chronicles: Overhaul’s global cargo theft webinar series

A woman on a headset looks at monitor, overseeing global cargo theft events. In the background is a larger image of a map.


Over the last few months, Overhaul has released several reports concerning global cargo theft trends. These reports cover a variety of statistics, including the average value of cargo stolen per country and the most targeted product types. 

To better explore these reports, we recently conducted a series of webinars regarding trends in the US, Mexico, and Brazil. We also discussed more general cargo theft trends affecting supply chains as a whole. 

A bird’s-eye view on global cargo theft  

Trends in the United States 

Overhaul’s Intelligence & Response Manager Danny Ramon hosted the first webinar, which concerned cargo theft in the United States. He began by presenting several highlights from the report, including the following: 

  • In Q1 of 2023, the US showed a total of 142 thefts, marking an 11% increase compared to Q4-2022. 
  • California (54%) and Texas (17%) were the highest-risk states due to their proximity to freight hubs and large cities. 
  • Electronics (24%) were the most vulnerable product type in terms of theft. 
  • The average loss value per incident during Q1-2023 was $291,946, representing a 41% increase from Q4-2022. 

Ramon also broke down how strategic theft works and best practices for vetting carriers. He further focused on several processes and technologies shippers can use to secure their cargo. 

Trends in Mexico 

The next webinar covered cargo theft in Mexico and was hosted by Luis Enrique Villatoro, Director of Supply Chain Security & Intelligence. He also began with some report highlights: 

  • During Q1-2023, cargo theft continued to be heavily concentrated in the State of Mexico, Puebla, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz. 
  • Year over year, food and beverages have remained the most stolen product type in Mexico. 
  • Mexico faces major challenges in security-related issues, which puts goods at risk when moving from point to point. 

Attendees then questioned whether any emerging modus operandi had been identified over the last 6 months. Villatoro explained that the main tactic used by criminals was the interception of cargo units in transit. He also explained how high-powered tactical jammers continue to be used to block the signal of GPS devices.  

Trends in Brazil 

Reginaldo Catarino Ferreira, Senior Intelligence Manager, was the next Overhaul member to conduct a webinar, this time on cargo theft in Brazil. He highlighted several important stats from the report, including:  

  • Over 60% of cargo movement in Brazil is concentrated along roads. 
  • 80% of cargo theft events in Q1-2023 occurred in the Southeast region. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were the most impacted states. 
  • Miscellaneous cargo registered 51% of all thefts in Brazil in Q1-2023, making it the most stolen product type. Tobacco came in second place with 9% of all thefts in Brazil. 

Ferreira also recommended several ways to safely transport cargo in Rio de Janeiro. He then explained how theft in Rio de Janeiro differed from theft in São Paulo. Finally, he explained the unique risks–and potential solutions–involved in last mile deliveries.  

Global cargo theft statistics 

For the last episode of Overhaul’s Cargo Chronicles, Ramon, Villatoro, and Ferreira joined together with Ron Greene, SVP of Intelligence and Response, to discuss more general global cargo theft trends. They highlighted several important statics and patterns, including: 

  • The USA has experienced an increase in the spread and sophistication of strategic thefts and an uptick in large-scale pilferages. 
  • At 62%, cargo theft in Mexico continues to be heavily concentrated in the Central region, mainly in the states of Mexico and Puebla. 
  • In Brazil, the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states were responsible for 74% of the country’s robberies. For the end of 2023, we expect an increase in numbers higher than last year by approximately 14%. 

Audience members then questioned whether any other countries were experiencing an uptick in organized crime. They also asked for examples of unique cargo theft techniques, as well as solutions for preventing those techniques from succeeding.  

Preventing global cargo theft 

Specifics in cargo theft vary from country to country. In some locations, criminals especially target truck stops and parking lots. In others, their main method of theft might be fictitious pickups, or their primary goal could be household goods. At the same time, some trends remain the same globally, such as criminal interest in poorly-secured, high-value cargo.  

It’s important to understand how both these differences and overlapping trends impact cargo safety. To do so, shippers need visibility into not just their cargo, but also the greater supply chain environment. 

Overhaul’s Intelligence solution offers just that.  

With Intelligence as a Service, you’ll gain access to weekly bulletins, route risk assessments, and more. We also work with law enforcement to help in cases of cargo theft. Plus, you can easily see our newest reports and supply chain security webinars. 

Learn more about our supply chain risk intelligence and stay tuned for the next installment of Cargo Chronicles.  

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