IBC and CTA Join Forces to Fight Cargo Theft

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Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) are joining forces, supported by four large Ontario police services, to launch a national program to fight cargo theft. The rapidly escalating crime is costing Canadians up to $5 billion a year and is a significant problem in transportation hubs in southern Ontario, and in Vancouver and Montreal.

IBC and CTA will expand the current Cargo Theft Reporting to across Canada, so that the trucking community, insurers and the authorities can better share timely information to help crack down on cargo theft. All insurers in Canada and trucking association members can now report cargo thefts directly to IBC via an online submission form. IBC will act as a clearing house for cargo theft data, and will collect, analyze and promptly share information with a national network of law enforcement partners including Canadian and American border agencies. Law enforcement can ask IBC to search the database to help identify property and to speed its recovery.

A 2011 study commissioned by CTA, which pegged the cost of cargo crime at $5 billion per year, also linked it to organized crime rings, which use the proceeds of cargo theft to fund such activities as gun and drug smuggling. Cargo crime covers a number of criminal acts including theft, fraud and hijacking.

To highlight the sophisticated nature of organized cargo theft, IBC’s Robertson gives the recent example of a tractor-trailer load of T-shirts. The trailer was stolen at 3 a.m. north of Toronto and by 6 a.m. some shirts were for sale at discount stores in small towns on Georgian Bay. By 9 a.m., the rest were on another truck crossing the Peace Bridge bound for Los Angeles with a final destination of India.

The reporting of cargo theft is sporadic, which makes property recovery and prosecution a challenge. Although some companies do report their losses, others do not for fear of a damaged reputation, a negative impact on their business and on customer confidence, and increased insurance premiums. When losses are not reported, stolen property cannot be identified or recovered and thieves are not prosecuted.

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