Thieves are targeting containers holding electronics and household goods as ports in the US struggle to clear backlogs of cargo, leading to delays in the supply chain.
“The more that the supply chain in general is backed up, the more cargo you’re going to have sitting. And that creates a bigger opportunity for thefts,” Scott Cornell, Travelers crime and theft specialist, told CBS MoneyWatch.
NBC4 News reported that there are thousands of boxes strewn along railroad tracks in Los Angeles. They appeared to have fallen or been thrown from cargo containers hauled by Union Pacific trains, the news outlet reported.
Union Pacific transports goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where there are massive backlogs of cargo. The train operator confirmed the theft to NBC4 News, saying in a statement that they are aware of the thefts and are working with local law enforcement.
A port spokesman told NBC4 News that all cargo containers at the port are safe.
Thieves are targeting electronics and household goods, according to CargoNet, which tracks supply chain thefts. California topped the list of states most targeted by thieves, followed by Texas and Florida.
About $45 million in cargo thefts were reported from January to September this year, according to CBS News, citing data from CargoNet. In 2020, almost $68 million worth of goods were stolen, and the figure was $49 million in 2019, CBS News added.
CargoNet said it expects theft to remain elevated into the final quarter of this year.