Bill intends to address ‘rampant theft’ in U.S. supply chain

June 27, 2024

Ryan Witkowski


Lawmakers have introduced legislation to address what they are calling “rampant theft” within the supply chain.

On Tuesday, June 25, California Rep. David G. Valadao, R-Hanford, introduced the bipartisan Safeguarding our Supply Chains Act. According to the bill’s text, the act “aims to improve coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI” when it comes to reducing the growing trend of cargo theft.

“Central Valley families are paying more for just about everything, and supply chain disruptions only make this problem worse,” Valadao said in a statement. “The alarming increase in cargo theft is having a devastating impact across industries, and we need to do more to ensure these goods are making it to their destination. The Safeguarding our Supply Chains Act will improve coordination to identify solutions and prevent theft. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill and look forward to working with my colleagues to get this across the finish line.”

The bill seeks to establish the Supply Chain Crime Coordination Center in the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations to “collect and analyze data related to supply chain fraud and theft and to analyze regions and modes of transportation in the United States that are experiencing high volumes of organized crime.” Additionally, the bill would establish a Supply Chain and Theft Task Force led by HSI and the FBI.

According to CargoNet, a data- and information-sharing company working with carriers and law enforcement to combat cargo theft, reported theft incidents in 2023 increased nearly 60% over the previous year. So far, in 2024, the company has noted a 46% increase in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2023, with an estimated total loss of $154.6 million.

The bill also mandates the creation of a Supply Chain Fraud and Theft Task Force within 120 days of the legislation going into effect.

According to the bill’s text, the task force would be a collaborative effort “between HSI, the FBI and all relevant agencies to address supply chain fraud and theft throughout the rail, motor carrier and intermodal systems to detect, disrupt and deter organized theft groups that are targeting all stages of the supply chain.”

Anticipated members of the task force include:

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Other Department of Homeland Security personnel, as appropriate
  • Other Department of Justice personnel, as appropriate
  • Other Federal agencies, as appropriate
  • Appropriate state law enforcement agencies
  • Foreign law enforcement agencies, as appropriate
  • Local law enforcement agencies from affected cities and communities
  • Railroad police
  • Association of the United States Army personnel focused on cargo issues
  • Appropriate tribal law enforcement agencies

Once established, the task force would be required to report to Congress within 180 days, and annually thereafter for the following five years, describing its effectiveness.

“It shall be the duty of the Task Force to ensure a coordinated, multi-agency, intelligence-based and prosecutor-led approach to identifying, disrupting and dismantling organizations responsible for the organized theft, fraud and theft-related violence in the United States supply chain,” the bill read.

Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., Darin LaHood, R-Ill., Vince Fong, R-Calif., and August Pfluger, R-Texas, are co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, those three states – California, Illinois and Texas – showed the most significant spikes in reported cargo theft activity for the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the year prior.

“Cargo theft and supply chain fraud has increased at an alarming rate over the last few years. In just the first four months of this year, my state of Illinois experienced a 126-percent spike in incidents of fraud schemes,” Schneider said. “I’m proud to join Rep. Valadao in introducing this bill to bolster the federal response to the rise in cargo theft and supply chain fraud facing the logistics and transportation industries.”

The act is requesting $100 million in funding over the next five years. Of that, $2 million was recently secured through the 2025 Homeland Security Appropriations Act with the intention of establishing a task force to combat fraud and theft of cargo. It is unclear where the remaining funds will come from. LL