Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade.
Trucks hauling food and beverage products and building materials topped the list of goods being targeted by freight thieves in Mexico during the second quarter, according to a new report from Overhaul.
The Austin, Texas-based supply chain visibility firm recorded 5,178 cargo theft incidents in April, May, and June, a 6% year-over-year increase compared to the same period in 2022 and a 2% increase compared to the first quarter.
“The central region [of Mexico] remained the region with the highest proportion of cargo theft (62%), while the northwest and western regions experienced an increase of 1% each,” Overhaul said. “Although criminal activity continued to be clustered on workdays, the months of April, May, and June saw a growth in thefts conducted during the night, from 6 p.m. to midnight.”
The monthly average for cargo thefts in Mexico during the second quarter was 1,726, with about 58 incidents every day.
In comparison, Overhaul reported a total of 240 cargo thefts that occurred across the U.S. in the first six months of 2023. The states with the highest rates of theft were California, Texas, and Georgia, with an average loss of $360,000.
In Mexico, the most common type of cargo theft in the second quarter involved stealing entire loads from trucks (35%), followed by pilferage of products from trucks (31%), deceptive pickups (23%), facility theft (4%), theft from last-mile couriers (4%) and hijacking trucks (3%).
The most stolen goods in the quarter were food and beverage products (30%), building materials (12%), home and garden supplies (7%), metals (6%), auto parts (4%), alcoholic beverages (4%) and pharmaceuticals (3%).
Although the percentage of cargo thefts with violence remained the same during the first and second quarters of 2023, the level of violence used by criminals to commit the crimes escalated.
“The number of thefts with violence in the second quarter … retained the same proportion as in the first quarter, 82%,” Overhaul said. “Criminal groups are expanding their areas of action while increasing the number and specialization of people dedicated to cargo theft.”
The company said one of the most dangerous routes for truck drivers in Mexico was the Arco Norte Highway, a roadway on the northern outskirts of Mexico City.
“The Arco Norte highway was one of the five highways with the highest rate of thefts
recorded by Overhaul in the first half of 2023,” Overhaul said. “At least six drivers were injured in thefts along the Arco Norte, two by firearms and four by severe beatings. Additionally, at least one operator died as a direct result of criminal groups operating on this highway.”
Overhaul said law enforcement, as well as shippers, carriers, and cross-border trade stakeholders, need to cooperate in order to combat cargo theft on the roadways.
“The effectiveness of security measures depends on the full cooperation and participation of all the parties implicated in the supply chain, which is not only limited to shipping lines, drivers, yard personnel, and freight owners,” Overhaul said. “It demands a prevention and safety awareness culture in which the parties involved are aware of and respect the safety strategies implemented before, during, and at the end of the route.”