The Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Incident Information Service (IIS) released figures indicating that the reporting of cargo crime in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region reached a five-year high in 2015. Data shows that 1,515 recorded freight thefts were reported, which represents a 37.4% increase year-on-year. According to TAPA, the 2015 data reflects a growing awareness of cargo crime among law enforcement agencies in the EMEA region along with the willingness of police forces in major European countries to share data with the association, to help its manufacturing and logistics service provider members increase the security of their supply chains.  TAPA was first formed in 1997 to tackle the multi-billion euro problem of cargo thefts from the supply chain.

Thorsten Neumann, Chairman of TAPA EMEA, commented on the newly released data: “We know that the number of cargo crimes reported by TAPA and others still only reflects what may be a relatively low percentage of overall cargo crimes. Often this is because freight thefts are recorded by law enforcement agencies only as commercial property or vehicle crimes so it is difficult to extract the data that specifically relates to supply chain losses. However, this is changing. In 2015, we received a record number of intelligence updates from police authorities, which is extremely encouraging. This is enabling us to build an increasingly accurate picture of cargo crime in our region.”

According to TAPA, Belgium is a good illustration of how support from law enforcement agencies is making inroads. In 2014, TAPA EMEA’s IIS recorded only 12 cargo thefts in Belgium. In 2015, Belgian police were able to identify and share information with TAPA on 341 cargo crime incidents. This puts Belgium at equal footing with their major supply chain gateways such as the Netherlands, which recorded 458 cargo crime incidents in 2015, and the United Kingdom with 367 thefts or attempted thefts recorded last year.

TAPA over the years has warned manufacturers and logistics service providers to not automatically assume that there is a low risk of theft in a country with a low reported rate of cargo crime. It may simply be the case that companies, insurers and LEAs in those countries do not currently share incident data.

“We have to take a team approach to tackling cargo crime, said Neumann. “That means helping our law enforcement partners identify freight thefts from other forms of crime and showing them the value of sharing this intelligence. By having a better understanding of where cargo crimes occur, the types of incidents taking place and the modus operandi of cargo thieves, TAPA EMEA members can increase the security of their supply chains. Ultimately that means less crime and reduces the need for companies to call upon the already-stretched resources of police forces across the EMEA region.”

What type of cargo is being stolen?  TAPA is seeing cargo thieves target virtually any type of product, including high-value technology products, which is common. It’s also seeing products with low-unit value being stolen, due to the high volumes that can be moved and the fact these products are often easier to get rid of and harder to trace. Low-unit value products include food and drink, cigarettes, cosmetics and hygiene, clothing and footwear.

Neumann also warned that highways and roads have become major risk areas for forwarders and truckers. “They have become the weakest link within the supply chain, hard to control and hence quite attractive spots seen from a criminal perspective.” This is due to the fact that many high-value goods are constantly moving on highways all over Europe, including Turkey and the Middle East. The risk of getting caught for criminals disguised as customs or policing officials is rather low because it is mostly hit and miss when professionally done, TAPA says.

Companies must review their supply chain security to ensure they are taking every possible precaution to protect their goods and employees from criminals. In addition, they should have a robust Marine Cargo insurance program in place to protect against transit risks, which can include incidents involving rough handling, collision, overturn, theft, or non-delivery, and jettison. Roanoke Underwriting specializes in insuring transportation and global logistics service providers including securing Marine Cargo insurance. To discuss your client’s specific needs, contact us at 1.855.213.4545.

Source: American Journal of Transportation