Huge jump in cargo theft across EMEA

Cargo theft across Europe, the Middle East and Africa has increased 105 per cent in this year's third quarter compared with the same period last year, accounting for more than five thefts a day.

The figures were published by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), which claimed the three months ending 30 September had a total of 489 newly recorded losses in 25 countries. Last year, there were 238 incidents during the same quarter, which represented a 10.6 per cent increase in crimes compared with the same period in 2014.

According to TAPA, 2016 already has the highest rate of cargo crimes in the last six years – and that is without including figures for November and December.

More than half of the reported thefts did not include a monetary value for the loss, but for those that did give a value figure it resulted in a total loss of almost €20m, with the average loss being almost €90,000.

The Q3 data also shows a 180 per cent increase in cargo theft valued at more than €100,000. The biggest single loss was €4m-worth of jewellery from a vehicle en route to Arezzo, Italy.

Food and drink was the category most targeted by thieves in the third quarter, accounting for 53 incidents and equating for 10.9 per cent of the Q3 total. Pharmaceuticals, clothing and footwear, furniture/household appliances and computers also featured in major cargo losses.

Meanwhile, almost 90 per cent of incidents involved a truck – such as theft from the vehicle or trailer or theft of the actual truck – and 4.9 per cent of cases involved theft from a warehouse, while there were 10 hijackings (2 per cent of incidents), seven of which were in South Africa.

The most common modus operandi by thieves was revealed as intrusion, accounting for almost 70 per cent of incidents. Violence or threat with violence accounted for almost 4 per cent of cases.

Thorsten Neumann, chairman of TAPA EMEA, said only about 5 per cent of reported cargo thefts to the body's Incident Information Service (IIS) affected TAPA members because of the increased protection applied to their supply chains.

But he added: "The growth in the number of recorded cargo crimes in an industry-wide problem and using intelligence is the best possible way to avoid becoming a victim. However, there are still many countries, such as France, Germany, Italy and South Africa, where we believe he majority of thefts from warehouse facilities and trucks are not reported to our IIS."

TAPA is calling for more reporting and sharing of intelligence to improve the database and protect against future cargo crime.

The IIS database includes information on the type of crime, where it occurred, how it was carried out by the thieves, and the products taken but no company or individual names are added. The information is shared by logistic firms but also law enforcement agencies, insurers and the media. The UK and the Netherlands are top sharers of intelligence.

TAPA has also launched a programme to improve the security in parking locations and will work with parking site operators to implement it. This comes after 2015 figures revealed that 57 per cent of all cargo crimes occurred in unsecured parking locations, while 2016's third quarter stats show these incidents rose 29 per cent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, a new online route planner tool has been launched for TAPA members, which will include a secure parking locator, site information and contact details, and locations of previous reported cargo crimes along the route.

However, an emerging area of concern for the supply chain industry is the rise in cybercrime, said Neumann. "It is still difficult to comprehend that one individual sitting in front of their PC at home can potentially pose such a threat to the world's physical and financial security but that is the reality we are facing."

"A truck travelling in the Netherlands with a million euros of product might quite easily be re-directed into the hands of criminals by someone sat at a PC in their bedroom on the other side of the world."

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