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Supply Chain Congestion Increases Threat of Cargo Theft

A joint report of the 2021 global cargo theft trends has found a shift from the frequency of in-transit, vehicle-based attacks to at-rest cargo losses, making storage locations a critical at-risk area. The widespread congestion of ports and inland facilities can lead to increased opportunity for offenders during the transportation period. A list of statistics from the report follows:

  • Globally, cargo theft of vehicles or products from vehicles while in-transit have declined while incidents at storage facilities have risen to nearly 30 percent.
  • In North America, prevalence of port congestion and railhead delays are seen as a crucial factor of theft.
  • Idle times in European locations have also augmented theft and stowaway risk.
  • Strict COVID-19 protocols at Asian ports—specifically in China—have created delays and backlogs, leading to more theft opportunities.
  • An increase in influence of insider infiltration to operator organizations, such as haulage companies and warehousing facilities.
  • Adoption of new technology by criminals, assisted by increased digitalization of supply chain processes and communication.

The annual report is based on recent incident data from 2021 collated from sources including law enforcement agencies, governments and trade associations. The data has been compiled by leading international transport and logistics insurer, TT Club and global provider of supply chain intelligence, BSI. In the last reporting period, input from the Transported Asset Protection Association’s Europe, Middle East & Africa (TAPA EMEA) also helped to significantly increase understanding in these regions.

“Constant vigilance is required in order to combat the growing risk divergence in theft trends,” said Mike Yarwood, managing director of loss prevention at TT Club. “Criminals are quick to adapt to prevailing conditions and have swiftly responded to the increased opportunities that supply chain congestion presents through the amount of cargo laying idle.  In addition, the transport industry’s growing reliance on technology and a rapidly changing market for sourcing materials and components have opened up new avenues for criminals to take advantage of companies’ increased vulnerabilities. TT, along with its partners is committed to tracking and reporting on such developments in criminals methods of operation in order to reduce the risk of losses wherever possible.”

- Digital Partner -

The graphic illustrates the products most frequently involved in global cargo thefts overall last year. These products include agricultural produce (12 percent), food and beverage (14 percent), construction materials (9 percent), and electronics (10 percent). Many of the elements used to produce construction materials and electronics—such as nitrogen, iron ore, lumber, steel and semiconductors—have experienced sharp price increases since the beginning of the pandemic. Shortages in many departments created a consequent increase in the value of the manufactured products.

The report also offers advice on how operators can protect their cargo from theft risks outlined in the report. Tony Pelli, BSI’s Practice Director for Security and Resilience has produced a checklist of precautionary action points.

“To mitigate risk there are a range of safeguards, including careful verification of trucking companies and other sub-contractors; insisting on the provision of details such as driver’s name, trailer number and appointed pick-up times and background screening of employees,” Pelli explained. “Vigilance is paramount, and we hope our reporting and advice will help supply chain partners to maintain and increase their diligent efforts to combat crime.”

Thorsten Neumann, president and CEO of TAPA EMEA, commented: “What we are seeing in EMEA is a heightened level of risk to virtually all types of goods moving in supply chains across our region. This comes from increasingly active and sophisticated organized crime groups which often regard supply chains as an easy and lucrative target. Sadly, too many companies wait to seek solutions until they become a victim of a cargo crime but, by then, they will have suffered a significant financial and reputational loss. The way forward is to recognize the risks which exist and to learn about the industry standards, training and intelligence solutions which are available today and which are already key to the supply chain resilience of leading manufacturers and freight transport and logistic providers. All is not lost, but it is a time for action to manage these risks and prevent rising product losses.”

LP Solutions

Please click the following link for the BSI & TT Club Cargo Theft Report. 

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