Analysis from TT Club and BSI SCREEN reports dramatic increases in Chilean freight crime, with incidents of theft estimated at 27% higher than in 2019. Here’s what it means for your business.

New research reveals a worrying trend in the Chilean freight transport sector, with theft incidents up 27% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The report makes stark reading, finding that over half of Chilean freight crimes involve hijacking, and the value of claims has risen 820%.

spot freight

The research was carried out by TT Club, BSI SCREEN, the Logistics Association of Chile (ALOG) and the crime investigation unit, Signum Services.

In an introduction to the risk landscape, the report notes that pandemic-induced measures such as quarantine, restrictions in movements, and curfews had the effect of reducing the incidence of cargo theft for much of 2020 and 2021. 

However, last year, with such limitations lifted, levels of crime sprung back with vengeance to 27% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to ALOG data.

Data at a glance

  • 450% increase in the frequency of insurance claims in 2022
  • Increased value of claims over same period of 820%
  • Over half of cargo crime incidents involve hijacking
  • Insider threat heightened due to socio-economic factors
  • Most common commodities targeted were electronics (25%) and foodstuffs (20%)

“The underlying factors that seem prevalent in explaining the alarming statistics seem to be predominantly social and economic in nature,” comments TT’s managing director of loss prevention, Mike Yarwood. 

“Inflation, increases in the cost of living and social unrest have motivated individuals to turn to crime.  These circumstances, which also encourage a larger black market, particularly in foodstuffs, instil heightened criminality in the population.”

Indeed, the report found that criminal organisations that are behind much of the theft have exploited those employed in the supply chain to a greater degree than in the past.

“Inflation, increases in the cost of living and social unrest have motivated individuals to turn to crime.”

Supply chain employees are pressured to provide valuable data and information on cargo flows and nature of loads, and to falsify delivery instructions.

Labour strikes, also common in a recession, create pinch points in the usual smooth flow of goods. Such locations become a focal point for crime.

The reported statistics show that second to hijacking as a mode of theft (57%), is the combined activity of stealing from a facility or of a vehicle itself, when cargo is at rest, contributing to 32% of all incidents. 

How can risk managers tackle the threats

TT and its co-authors say that theft risks can be alleviated by combatting the criminal device of fictitious pick-ups.

The report contains a long list of measures from secure verification procedures and driver ID checking, to staff training in identifying suspicious circumstances and monitoring through tracking technology to ensure shipments are being delivered correctly.

Yarwood says: “[Our primary goal] is to create a greater awareness of the threats, so operators can take mitigating protectionist steps.

”To this end, our report carefully details two of the primary strategies used by the criminal fraternity, – hijacking and the use of insider knowledge and cooperation. 

The report also provides a  case study on the role criminal organisations are playing in infiltrating the supply chain in Chile, and throughout Latin America.

“With the help of our partners, utilising a wide range of in-depth data resources, TT will continue to research cargo crime internationally in order to forearm the supply chain industry with information on trends in such damaging losses,” concludes Yarwood.