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Marine cargo – mitigating risk more important than ever

Published: 08/10/11

For most of us piracy and smuggling is the stuff of bedtime stories; whilst today’s version might look a bit different, marine cargo theft is very much on the increase.

The economic downturn and an increasing global black-market are being cited as key factors, with average claims rising in the last decade from US$5,000 to a staggering US$1million!

Pilfering of goods at ports has largely disappeared, but theft and hijacking of cargo is an increasing problem, particularly, retail goods such as consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals and high-value commodities that are easily sold on the black market. Interestingly, in the US, it appears food and beverages are the most commonly stolen products.

Cargo theft is on a bigger scale with a greater concentration of value in containers. As such it is largely undertaken by criminal gangs and organised crime; specific goods being targeted for theft and stolen to order.

On-line technology is being hacked into by gangs to track an in-demand product’s specific location; representing a particular security threat to freight companies.

Naturally, insurers are increasingly working with clients to try and ‘stem the tide’ and mitigate risk. Here are their key recommendations:

  • Improve container security
  • Secure online cargo tracking facilities
  • Check routes in advance and identify alternatives
  • Train employees in handling and packing of cargo
  • Know your logistics provider and review freight contracts regularly
  • Help protect cargo on the road – ensure secure parking is used where available, install tracking devices and have an intervention plan, if necessary.

For marine transit insurance for cargo or goods in transit risks please talk to John Price on 0845 371 1452 or email: johnprice@flintinsurance.co.uk.

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