Cargo Group Rolls out Contraband Plan. (News and Trends)

Article excerpt

Among the many terrorism concerns for businesses and the country at large is the safety of cargo. As with any asset, protecting against more routine risks, such as theft, can also help to close vulnerabilities that a terrorist might exploit. A new report commissioned by the National Cargo Security Council (NCSC) looks at cargo contraband issues.

The report warns that contraband markets provide finances and resources for terrorism. And, the report notes, cargo crime perverts the U.S. transportation and supply function, reduces government revenues, and undermines legal markets.

Though no one truly knows the extent of the problem, it has been estimated that cargo crimes account for direct merchandise losses of as much as $50 billion a year, with half of that loss occurring in the United States. The related crimes of smuggling, counterfeiting, and product piracy add considerably to that problem. But cargo theft is the preferred method for many criminals--especially organized crime--the report says, because "it has the lowest cost structure [and] the highest potential profit margins." Among the most favored targets of cargo criminals are assembled computers, computer components and software, electronic products, cigarettes, and fashion apparel, according to the report.

The report, prepared by FLA International Research Ltd. and underwritten by Brown and Williamson, offers solutions from both the supply and demand sides. On the supply side, the report urges that cargo crime be made a priority by beefing up sanctions and increasing law enforcement resources.

The report also proposes a national collection and reporting system for cargo theft data. In addition, it calls for improved security measures in the private sector as well as increased public/private cooperation.

Other suggested measures include international adoption and enforcement of intellectual property rights. …