€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months

Cargo criminals were active in 78 countries across the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in the 18 months to 30 June 2022, with thefts or attempted thefts of products from supply chains valued at more than 171 million.

This financial loss is based on only 12.4% of incidents reported to the TAPA EMEA Intelligence System (TIS) sharing a value for the goods which were stolen, a sharp fall from the 65.1% of crimes with a value recorded by TAPA EMEA in 2020. 

In September, TAPA EMEA’s special 18-Month Cargo Crime Report will look deeper into the factors behind the rise in recorded incident rates, which rose 29.8% in 2021 vs. 2020. For the 18 months to the end of June 2022, the report contains analysis of 11,332 incidents added to the TIS database over this period.

The number of major cargo thefts – with a value of €100,000 or more – are impacted by the significantly lower number of crimes providing a loss value year-over year (182 for the 18 months to 30 June 2022 compared to 203 in 2020), but still highlight what’s at stake for companies which are victims of cargo thefts. The average loss for incidents in this value range over 18 months stood at €826,672.

Increasingly, of course, the best guide to the impact of cargo crime is not just the value of the goods which are stolen from a facility or a particular mode of transport, but the wider ‘true cost of loss’ which stems from the end-to-end consequences of an incident. One stolen truckload of parts or components, as has been proven, can impact the production of thousands of customer orders. Supply needs to be replenished, investigations need to take place, insurance claims need to be processed, customers need to be communicated with, and reputations need to be protected.

Lockdowns, capacity shortages and supply chain congestion are all additional factors which now need to be taken into account when assessing the impact of cargo crime, too. Sources of supply are still severely disrupted, in some sectors more than others. Lead times are longer across the board. Shipping costs and product costs are still well above the long-term average, and this is before the added and growing pressure of a cost-of-living crisis and its impact on businesses and consumers. 

And, let’s not overlook the corporate world’s need to focus on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibilities. What’s the total carbon footprint of all the transportation and logistics processes which need to take place to recover from a high value cargo crime, for example? 

So, the old comeback to news of a cargo loss of ‘well, at least it’s all insured’ is increasingly wide of the mark.            

As discussed in the last issue of Vigilant, businesses striving for even higher levels of supply chain resilience are today facing even more of an uphill struggle. Financial pressures on consumers for even the most basic everyday items will fuel the ‘black market’ for a wide variety of goods. In many cases, consumers buying products will not even be aware of their ‘route to market,’ nor possibly even care – but the very fact they’re buying these goods feeds neatly into the activities of Organised Crime Groups and others. 

TAPA EMEA’s latest analysis of cargo crime in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region once again shows a large majority of losses from supply chains centred around the major, top 10 countries. Due to the year-over-year rise in police data, South Africa ascended to first place in this unwanted cargo crime ‘league table’ with 2,670 recorded incidents over 18 months, dominated by violent truck hijackings and robberies of cash-in-transit vehicles. 

Incident rates in the other 9 main countries over this reporting period will also be a significant concern for supply chain security professionals. While the numbers remain only an indicator of cargo security risks in these countries, they are a constant reminder that OCGs, smaller criminal gangs and opportunist thieves are extremely active in these markets, notably: 

  • Germany – 2,348 cargo crimes in 18 months
  • United Kingdom – 1,573 incidents
  • Netherlands – 707
  • Spain – 704
  • France 650
  • Russia – 452
  • Italy – 294
  • Belgium – 119 
  • Denmark – 116 

The fact that a further 68 countries also recorded cargo thefts in this period of 2021/22 may be a positive indicator that companies are getting the message about the need to share incident. That’s the positive framing. More likely, it’s yet another sign that the risk of becoming a target of cargo thieves is increasing right across the EMEA region. 

Next month’s special report will look at the top 10 countries in more detail and cover trends such as the rise in Theft from Facility crimes and fuel thefts in the first half of 2022. If you have cargo crime data to share, send it now to tisteam@tapaemea.org

€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months
€171M of cargo thefts in 18 months