March 24, 2020: According to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), cargo thefts from supply chains in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) more than doubled to 8,548 incidents in 2019 and involved losses of product worth over €137 million. The association also recorded thefts from supply chains in more countries in the EMEA region than ever before – 48 in total compared to 35 in the previous year.

Of this total, 10 countries accounted for 94.6 percent of the cargo crimes reported in 2019 are as follows:

  • Germany – 2,905, up 1,945 percent
  • France – 1,542 – up 817.8 percent
  • United Kingdom – 1,199, down 53.6 percent
  • Netherlands – 680, up 55.6 percent
  • Sweden – 607, up 1,114 percent
  • Spain – 388, up 53.9 percent
  • Russia – 371, up 290.5 percent
  • Italy – 159, up 174.1 percent
  • Belgium – 120, up 118.1 percent
  • South Africa – 118, up 195 percent

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 cargo transport - air, ocean, road, and rail.

In its Incident Information Service (IIS) Annual Report 2019, the association 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.

In 2019, the number of incidents rose 114.7 percent to 8,548 versus 3,981 in 2018. Of these, only 39.1 percent of reports provided any financial value for the goods stolen, which accounted for a combined €137,991,499.

South Africa records 195% increase in cargo thefts in 2019: TAPA

In terms of major losses, the top five countries – based on crimes reporting a value - were heavily influenced by a small number of very high-value thefts, notably in Albania and South Africa:

  • South Africa - €19,334,171
  • Netherlands – €15,875,292
  • United Kingdom – €13,377,226
  • Germany - €10,918,393
  • Albania – €10,000,000

The biggest single loss reported to TAPA’s IIS in 2019 was the theft of €17,440,800 of jewellery/precious metals stolen from an origin facility in Gauteng province in South Africa. This was one of 19 crimes with seven- and eight-figure loss values. Overall, the 179 major cargo thefts last year – classified as incidents with a loss of €100,000 or more – represented a total loss of €96,103,152.

Trucks continued to be the biggest target for cargo thieves, featuring in some 95 percent of all freight losses in the EMEA region. The lack of secure truck parking remained one of the most significant contributors to these crimes, with drivers forced to park their vehicles at service stations, in laybys, and on industrial estates while taking mandatory rest breaks.

During 2019, only 220 theft from facility crimes were recorded, reflecting the growing reluctance of cargo thieves to take the risk of targeting warehouses and distribution centres where security systems and on-site personnel increase their chances of getting caught.

TAPA EMEA’s president & CEO, Thorsten Neumann 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.”

TAPA was formed in 1997 to tackle the multi-billion euro problem of cargo thefts from supply chains. TAPA’s mission is to minimise cargo losses from the supply chain by helping its members manage risk and achieve the highest levels of supply chain resilience.

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