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UK bucks cargo crime trend

[ March 25, 2020   //   ]

Cargo thefts from supply chains in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) more than doubled to 8,548 incidents in 2019 with product losses of well over €137 million, according to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA). However, the UK was the sole major country to buck the trend, recording a fall in crimes
The incident rate is the highest recorded in TAPA’s 23-year history as the leading Security Expert Network for everyone in the supply chain and reflects criminal attacks on all modes of transport.
The Association’s Incident Information Service (IIS) Annual Report 2019 also reveals average losses for major cargo crimes of €536,889 and an average daily loss in the EMEA region last year of €378,058.
The intelligence data is based on cargo losses reported to TAPA’s IIS by international law enforcement agencies, insurers, manufacturers and logistics service providers. Despite the high numbers, however, the Association continues to emphasise that it is still not receiving reports on the large majority of cargo crimes it believes are taking place across the region.
In 2019, the number of incidents rose 114.7% to 8,548 versus 3,981 in 2018. Of these, only 39.1% of reports provided any financial value for the goods stolen, which accounted for a combined €137,991,499.
The UK however, saw a 53.6% drop in the number of cargo crimes, to 1,199. Germany however suffered a 1,945% increase year-on-year, to 2,905,, while France was up 817.8% to 1,542. There were also rises in Sweden (up 1,114% to 607), Netherlands (up 55.6% to 680) and Spain (up 53.9% to 388).
The biggest single loss reported to TAPA’s IIS in 2019 was the theft of €17.4m of jewellery and precious metals stolen in Gauteng province in South Africa, one of 19 crimes with 7- and 8-figure loss values.
Product categories targeted by the criminals – suffering combined losses of €1 million or far higher – were phones, clothing and footwear, cosmetics and hygiene products, car parts, computers/laptops, cash, jewellery/precious metals, furniture and household appliances, food and drink, metal, tobacco, sports equipment, and theft of truck and trailers.
TAPA said that the lack of secure truck parking remained one of the most significant contributors to crime. It said its Parking Security Requirements (PSR) industry standard is working to identify and encourage a network of truck parking places which meet its members’ requirements. Already, this has gained the support of Parking Place Operators in 10 countries across the region, with more in the pipeline. In total, 4,602 of the crimes reported in 2019 occurred in unclassified parking places.
Attacks on trucks continued to mostly involve so-called ‘curtain slashing’ as thieves cut the tarpaulin curtains of parked trucks to reach the goods inside. Drivers also faced extreme violence in many of these attacks. At least two drivers lost their lives in cargo crimes in 2019 while others were threatened by violent offenders armed with guns, knives and other weapons.
Other modus operandi used by cargo thieves during the year included a significant number of fraudulent pick-ups by offenders using fake driver and company identities, and cloned vehicles – often after being awarded loads through online freight exchanges for available transport capacity. GPS jammers were once again used to block vehicle tracking signals in some truck hijackings, while some used fake police stops.
TAPA EMEA president and chief executive Thorsten Neumann (opictured, below), said: “There is no doubt that the supply chains of TAPA members globally are among the most resilient in the industry because of the steps they are taking to protect goods in transit or being stored in facilities. This includes adopting our industry standards for facilities and trucking operations. However, for the industry-at-large, the risks are now greater than at any time this century.”
He also advised companies to consider the ‘bigger picture’ of TAPA’s cargo crime data, adding: “Some countries stand out simply because of their high rates of crime reported to our IIS database. This, however, does not mean they are bigger crime hotspots than anywhere else in EMEA. It just means our sources of intelligence in these countries are more willing to use the information they have at their disposal to reduce cargo crime in the most effective ways possible. Frankly, we need more partners with this positive approach. When supply chain security professionals in our Manufacturing and Logistics Service Provider members need to determine the level of risk on a particular route or in a specific country, our IIS database gives them high quality, credible intelligence on which to base their decisions. So, the greatest risk is often in countries where we have little information on the activities of cargo thieves, making it harder to manage these risks.”

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