EMEA cargo thefts spike in the first half of 2020

Over €85m of goods were stolen from air, road, sea and rail supply chains in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in the first half of 2020.

The value of cargo thefts rose from a level of €55m in the first half of 2019, with the increase occurring despite the disruption to businesses and supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, there is evidence that organised criminal groups were stealing goods to order, targeting high-demand items like personal protective equipment (PPE), food and drink, and cosmetics and hygiene products, according to the Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Incident Information Service (IIS).

All told, there were 3,278 cargo theft incidents across 46 countries, with €52m of the total value of stolen goods attributed to just 96 incidents with an average value of more than €540,000.

Thorsten Neumann, president & CEO of TAPA EMEA, said the latest figures have dispelled any hopes that national lockdowns during the height of the pandemic would eradicate cargo losses.

“It clearly takes more than a global pandemic to stop the activities of organised crime groups,” he added.

“Our IIS database recorded a higher than usual number of incidents in which, for example, multiple vehicles in parking locations had their tarpaulin curtains slashed by thieves looking for products but no goods were taken in the attacks,” pointed out Neumann.

“This indicates offenders had very specific types of products in mind – and, almost certainly, black market customers already lined up to buy the goods.”

The top product categories affected by cargo theft were as follows:

-         Computers/Laptops - €9,934,812

-         Pharmaceuticals - €5,940,859

-         No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) - €5,673,144

-         Tobacco - €5,411,545

-         Clothing & Footwear - €4,405,799

-         Phones - €4,186,877

-         Food & Drink - €2,987,254

-         Cosmetics & Hygiene - €2,620, 317

-         Sports Equipment - €1,144,805

The UK recorded the highest number of major cargo losses, ahead of Germany and the Netherland. However, these country’s high numbers are largely due to the high level of support and intelligence TAPA receives from law enforcement agencies, rather than a result of a particularly high crime rates.

Theft from vehicle remained the most recorded type of incident with 2,179 cases and TAPA was notified of only 122 theft from facility crimes.

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