News release from the Governor's Office
ATLANTA – Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) has donated $16,000 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Major Theft Unit (MTU). Members of the GMTA joined Governor Perdue to commend the MTU on their dedication to investigating cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.
"Cargo theft represents a big concern and cost for trucking and other freight haulers," said Governor Perdue. "The Major Theft Unit was created to identify and target the individuals and groups responsible for cargo theft in our state. This donation highlights Georgia's efforts in combating this crime."
Georgia is a major logistics hub making cargo theft prevention an important priority for the state. It is estimated that 43.5 million truckloads of cargo, valued at $1.4 trillion, traveled through Georgia's highways in 2009.
The Major Theft Unit was created last year and has already seized $17 million in stolen cargo and made 71 arrests. In addition, the MTU has assisted in the seizure of $1.2 million in drug contraband. The MTU has provided cargo theft investigation and prevention training to both local law enforcement agencies and the transportation industry. Cargo theft is a nationwide issue with significant impact on the United States economy.
"The Georgia Motor Trucking Association has partnered with law enforcement as we work to investigate and prosecute persons committing cargo theft in this state. The financial support provided by the association will be used to purchase equipment for the Major Theft Unit and to train state and local law enforcement," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.
Cargo theft crimes account for an estimated direct merchandise loss of $10 to $25 billion per year in the United States. Georgia has become the target for cargo thieves operating in the southeast, and is now one of the leading states for cargo crimes. The Major Theft Unit is working in close cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies to investigate cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.
"GMTA and its members are grateful for the opportunity to support the GBI in this vital effort," said Ed Crowell, President & CEO Georgia Motor Trucking Association, "Cargo theft is a growing plague across the nation and thanks to Governor Perdue's leadership, as well as the skill and dedication of GBI's Major Theft Unit, Georgia is now leading the nation in fighting back. GMTA will continue to this work in every way possible."
The Georgia Motor Trucking Association is the only organization in the state that provides full-time service and representation for the trucking industry. The Association serves as the "voice" of the trucking industry in Georgia, representing more than 400 for-hire carriers, 400 private carriers, and 300 associate members.