News roundup, Feb. 7: Cargo theft numbers increased in 2019; truckers arrested for human, drug smuggling attempts at border

Updated Feb 10, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Feb. 7, 2020:

Cargo theft volumes increased in 2019, with the most thefts occurring in California, Texas and Georgia.Cargo theft volumes increased in 2019, with the most thefts occurring in California, Texas and Georgia.

Cargo theft on the rise in 2019
The total number of cargo thefts in the U.S. increased in 2019 over the previous year, while the average values of those thefts decreased, according to an annual report from cargo theft recording firm SensiGuard. The firm says its numbers are an indirect representation of the overall cargo theft footprint, as a number of thefts go unreported.

According to SensiGuard, there were 703 cargo thefts recorded in 2019 with an average loss value of $118,396, representing a 17% uptick in volume and a 22% decrease in value when compared to 2018. The firm says the growth in volume is due to cargo thefts diversifying into “advanced cargo theft techniques,” adding that values will likely catch up with the increase in volume.

The firm notes that the volume increase was the first year-over-year increase since 2011.The most common form of theft was theft of full truckload, which accounted for 54% of thefts in 2019.

Additionally, electronics were the most-stolen product type in 2019, accounting for 17% of all thefts, SensiGuard notes. Food and drinks were also among the most-stolen items.

When broken down by location, nearly half of all cargo thefts took place in three states, with 44% occurring in California, Texas and Georgia.

Thieves were most active late in the year with November seeing the most thefts (14%), followed by December (11%) and October (10%).

Truckers busted by Border Patrol for human, drug smuggling attempts
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents recently announced three incidents involving truck drivers.

Border Patrol agents found more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana under the flooring of a flatbed trailer near El Paso, Texas. (CBP photo)Border Patrol agents found more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana under the flooring of a flatbed trailer near El Paso, Texas. (CBP photo)

On Jan. 21 near Laredo, Texas, agents intercepted a large human smuggling attempt at the I-35 checkpoint. A service canine alerted agents to the trailer, and agents referred the truck for secondary inspection. The driver then failed to stop, continued to driver north, then fled on foot. Upon opening the trailer, agents found 63 immigrants, all illegally present in the United States. Agents also tracked down the truck driver, a U.S. citizen. The driver and the migrants were arrested.

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In a separate incident on Feb. 2, agents near Edinburg, Texas, arrested a truck driver and nine illegal immigrants. In a similar situation, a service canine alerted agents to the trailer, where agents found nine immigrants.

Finally, on Jan. 29, agents seized more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana that was stored inside the flooring of a flatbed trailer. Agents near El Paso, Texas, referred a tractor-trailer for an intensive exam, and an x-ray inspection found anomalies within the floor of the flatbed trailer. Agents found the 1,577.4 pounds of marijuana in 419 bundles in the trailer.

New brokerage focuses on “partial truckload” in service
The FreightWeb broker launched what it calls its “Partial Truckload” service, backed by funding from $3 million in venture funding from Madrona Venture Group and 8VC. The company looks to connect shippers of partial truckloads with owner-operators available to move them. Offering self-service rate quotes to shippers via myfreightweb.com, the company pitches 25% savings to those shippers over “full truckload-based pricing” and defines “partial truckload” as between six and 20 pallets.

FreightWeb Services says it also plans to launch an owner-operator-based Partial Truckload carrier operation across Southern California, Arizona and Texas. It also touts 50 combined years of experience in logistics, with staff holding previous leadership roles at FedEx, Amazon, and leading carriers and brokerages.