Border areas: Mexico recorded 692 commercial thefts of cargo in April
Border areas is a weekly overview of developments in the world of cross-border trucking and commercial traffic between the US and Mexico. This week: Mexico recorded 692 commercial thefts of cargo in April; VW Reduces Production at Plants in Mexico and Tennessee; ATRG Acquires Fleets of Texans; and CBP officials seize $ 5.5 million meth at Otay Mesa.
Mexico recorded 692 commercial cargo thefts in April
Every month hundreds of commercial vehicles are hijacked on Mexico’s highways for their cargo, with criminal gangs becoming more violent, according to Mexican officials.
In April, 692 trucks were robbed nationwide, according to Mexico’s National Public Security System (SESNSP), a crime-monitoring agency.
While cargo theft decreased 21% in April compared to the same period last year, Mexican officials said cargo security remains an issue for hauliers and shipping companies.
“The safety of freight traffic is being called into question. Nobody is exempt from attack, ”said Verónica Torres Landa, executive director of the Mexican Association of Private Security Companies (AMESP). “These [cargo thefts] have increased today with violence, with firearms, criminal gangs with obstacles, cloned police vehicles, stolen trucks being arrested and stopping of trailers with threats. “
Torres Landa spoke on Tuesday during the webinar on safety challenges for road transport in 2021.
“The most common items stolen are food and drink, clothing and shoes, auto parts, steel, tires, wine and liquor,” she said.
The highways around Mexico City and the state of Mexico in the center of the country are hot spots for cargo theft, according to Torres Landa.
Other hot spots for cargo theft are the highways and roads that run through the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Guerrero and Nuevo León.
While most cargo thefts take place in the central and central-western regions of the country, the state of Nuevo León in northern Mexico, which also includes a major border crossing to Laredo, Texas, has also been hit by crime. In 2020, the state of Nuevo León recorded more than 550 cargo thefts, according to SESNSP.
Forager CEO Matt Silver said cargo thieves are looking for cargo that they can easily steal and sell on the black market. Forager is a Chicago-based cross-border logistics technology platform founded in 2018.
“They’re trying to find things to make money from and some of the things they’re looking for are tires, televisions, appliances,” said Silver. “It even happens in the US”
According to Sensitech, a cargo security specialist, there were 870 cargo thefts in the US in 2020. 48% of the thefts recorded occurred in California (20%), Texas (18%) and Florida (10%).
Cargo security company CargoNet recorded 1,676 supply chain risk events in the United States and Canada in 2020. The average cargo theft in 2020 was $ 166,334. Texas led the way with 232 theft incidents in 2020.
CargoNet recorded 289 thefts in the supply chain in the first quarter of 2021, a slight decrease compared to the same period of the previous year. However, Texas, California, and Florida all reported significant increases in theft.
FreightWaves’ SONAR Outbound Tender Volume Index for Texas (SONAR: OTVI.TX) shows a huge jump year over year. The index, which measures the outgoing tender volume on a moving seven-day average, stood at 1,401.07 on May 27, compared to 845.06 a year ago.
Goods such as large household appliances, household paper goods, household cleaning products, furniture as well as food and beverages were the most stolen freight categories according to CargoNet.
“Thieves focus on the products that they can steal and sell easily. They’re looking for facilities to follow trucks from, ”said Silver. “Just like when you drive down the highway in a city, you can see the buildings, they have a big name on the side. Imagine searching for or looking for all of the tequila facilities in Guadalajara, Mexico [Flex Ltd.] Electronics plant that has all that really high quality stuff. “
Silver said cargo thieves would scout facilities, watch out for carriers in and out, and follow trucks as they depart.
“They’ll watch the trucks to see if they’re getting onto a safer toll lane, or if they’re taking other routes or the freeway. They’ll see if they’re following this transport company or not,” said Silver. “The other part of it is cargo thieves who make sure that the freight forwarder is safe behind the truck like a convoy.”
Forager recently posted an interview with Jose Alfredo Cardenas – an expert in cross-border transportation – on the company’s blog. Cardenas is vice chairman of Transportes Innovativos, a truck load carrier based in Guadalajara, Mexico. The company also has terminals in Laredo as well as Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, Silao and Manzanillo, Mexico.
“Cargo theft is a major challenge for any cross-border supply chain and we take it seriously,” said Cardenas. “Our security strategy is based on three principles: the right people, the right processes and the right technology tools.”
Cardenas said they are using technologies like GPS satellite tracking, trailer tracking, redundant cellular devices that help locate trucks when criminals use a signal jammer, and even switches that can slow down the truck’s speed and prevent it from happening the engine restarts after the truck is switched off.
Silver said some of the ways cargo security can be improved across Mexico is through technology and building better cellular connections with carriers “to get better data from them in real time.”
“Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification also plays a role in security,” said Silver.
C-TPAT is a US Customs and Border Protection security program that certifies members by implementing best practices to ensure secure supply chains.
“One of the requirements at C-TPAT for freight forwarders is that their trailer doors are welded so that they cannot take the doors off their hinges. The reason you do this is because it is an easy way to steal something from a trailer. You take the doors down if you can’t break the seal, ”said Silver. “Another reason is that drivers and background checks are even stricter. On the other hand, it’s really about how shippers can get better at what they ship and how they ship it. “
Silver said another way to curb cargo theft is for shippers to diversify their transportation methods by moving more cargo by rail.
“We don’t do anything on the railways, but the advantage of rail freight transport is that the train normally runs and it is difficult to hijack a train. It’s on a track and goes one way, ”said Silver.
Volkswagen will reduce production in Puebla and Chattanooga due to chip shortages
According to Automotive News, Volkswagen recently announced that it would stop production at its plant in Puebla, Mexico for three weeks in June and July.
The production cuts are due to a persistent global shortage of semiconductor chips. The plant in Puebla produces the Jetta, Tiguan and Taos models.
“Volkswagen de México expects further adjustments to its production program, which will begin in June and at different times for its three production segments. The resumption of production activities will gradually be resumed. We’ll do our best to resume production later this year, ”the automaker told its dealers in a letter to Automotive News.
Volkswagen recently announced that the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee facility would lose two weeks of production in June. The Chattanooga plant builds the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport crossovers as well as the Passat sedan.
American Trailer Rental Group acquires fleets in Texas
American Trailer Rental Group (ATRG) recently completed the acquisition of Dallas-based Advantage Trailer Leasing and its Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Longview operations.
ATRG also recently acquired the rental fleet from Earvin Equipment Inc. in Laredo, Texas.
ATRG, based in Evansville, Indiana, is a group of companies with a rental fleet of around 16,000 units that represents several regional providers of trailer rental. The company operates under the brands Meisler Trailer Rental, First in Trailer Service, Fleet Trailer Rental, Advantage Trailer Rental and Arizona Storage Trailer.
CBP officials seize $ 5.5 million worth of meth at Otay Mesa
Nearly 2,500 pounds of methamphetamine were confiscated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the commercial port of entry at Otay Mesa, near San Diego.
The case came on May 21 when CBP officials discovered 120 packs of methamphetamine hidden in a commercial shipment of plastic parts from an articulated truck from Mexico. The drugs have an estimated street value of $ 5.5 million.
The Mexican national who was driving the truck was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. CBP confiscated the narcotics.
It was the third methane seizure that same week at the port of entry at Otay Mesa.
Click here for more FreightWaves articles from Noi Mahoney.
More articles from Noi Mahoney
Can Mexico benefit from the US automaker’s hub for electric vehicles?
Shortage of drivers for cross-border truck transport
The drivers had to transport nuclear weapons across the United States
Power outages caused by storms cause traffic jams at the World Trade Bridge