Cargo theft is a multibillion-dollar economic drain that exploits existing gaps in the nation’s information-sharing framework. When theft victims are unable to provide timely and accurate information concerning their losses, it hampers law enforcement’s ability to conduct an effective investigation. Aside from the immediate loss of merchandise, cargo theft affects insurers and their policyholders through added costs that are ultimately borne by consumers.
Even more troubling are the indirect costs of cargo theft through supply-chain interruption, which can jeopardize product safety when goods are taken from a controlled environment and resold to an unsuspecting public.
For the first time, a nationally coordinated data-sharing system is being built to take into account the needs of insurers, law enforcement, transportation companies, manufacturers, retailers, and their many agents and service providers. The core of the network is a new database called CargoNet(TM), which will be launched in early 2010. The network will also encompass training and investigative support for law enforcement, as well as theft prevention services and analytics.
Vincent Cialdella, ISO senior vice president, explained, “ISO’s track record of building and managing sophisticated and secure systems to share sensitive loss and crime data is ideally suited to building CargoNet(TM). We are greatly encouraged by the strong support we are receiving from leading cargo insurers. This initiative would not be possible without it. We are also encouraged by discussions we have had with transportation companies, manufacturers, and retailers, given the crucial role they play in this initiative.”
Joe Wehrle, president and chief executive officer of NICB, added, “This is a critical step in the plan that the industry and law enforcement mapped out in November 2006, when the National Cargo Theft Task Force recommended the development of intelligence databases and information sharing. Working with our members and law enforcement, NICB has been making progress against cargo theft on many fronts. We have recovered stolen cargo, developed intelligence, and dissolved organized groups behind the thefts. If CargoNet were in place today, I’m sure we’d be seeing a lot more recoveries, and we’d be making thieves think twice about stealing these loads.”
Ronald Thornton, president and chief executive officer of the Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA), a not-for-profit association that represents most U.S. cargo insurers, noted, “IMUA has worked with and on behalf of its members for many years to combat cargo theft. We have made good progress in some areas, but information sharing has remained ad hoc and fragmented at best. Our technical committees and member companies have met with the team developing CargoNet, and I am encouraged by the evident level of support it is receiving. This effort will be a major step forward in the fight against cargo theft for our members and their policyholders, who both play such a critical role in the U.S. economy.