€11.6bn lost to cargo theft in Europe in 2013; study

Freightwatch logo and truckFreightwatch has attempted to update a longstanding figure for the scale of cargo theft in the EU, estimating that the loss value was a massive €11.6bn in 2013.

The company has tried to update the widely-reported €8.2bn annual figure published by the European Parliament in 2007, which was based on data gleaned from 2003 to 2006 and for years has remained the only official statistic available to quantify EU cargo theft.

Cargo security and intelligence company Freightwatch said it has tried to update the figure as it has a much larger incident database to draw on - thanks to its own efforts and the assistance of EU law enforcement agencies - and believes the "cargo crime landscape in Europe has worsened since 2007."

"Even though freight traffic has actually decreased since 2004 due to the economic crisis, threats to the supply chain are substantially higher today almost everywhere in the EU than they were 10 years ago," says the report.

"Criminal groups have also become better organized and more capable of operating across Europe than they were a decade ago."

The study suggests cargo theft has gone up more than 40 per cent, with a lot of activity surrounding certain hot spots such as the Lombardy, Apulia and Campania regions in Italy, Paris and the wider Ile-de-France region in France and the East/West and North/South transit motorways in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

There are also high levels of activity in some regions in Spain, the UK, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, according to Freightwatch.

Alarmingly, the study suggests that the damage to the EU economy is actually much greater, as too many thefts remain unreported by industry or law enforcement and the large number of thefts from facilities are not covered by the analysis.

Freightwatch maintains that much can be done to improve matters. High-value shipments continue to be left idle in unsecured parking areas, route planning is still uncommon and carriers still fail to comply with agreed security protocols.

"While profit margins are certainly tight across the logistics/ transport sector, it is beyond debate that the implementation of industry best practices … along with electronic freight tracking and monitoring programmes, will save significantly more in the long run than the initial investment needed to put these security measures in place."

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