The Transported Asset Protection Association alerts manufacturers and logistics service providers to be prepared to protect their supply chains from a projected significant spike in cargo thefts as coronavirus lockdowns begin to be lifted across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
Specifically, TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) has received reports of over 400 thefts of products from supply chains between 1 March-29 May 2020, valued at more than €16.4 million. These crimes took place in 37 countries across the EMEA region, with the average value of major cargo crimes of €100,000 or above exceeding €840,000.
In April, TAPA recorded a series of seven-figure losses, including thefts of two million face masks in Spain, sports equipment in the United Kingdom, and mobile phones in Kenya.
Commenting on the situation, Thorsten Neumann, President & CEO of TAPA EMEA, stated that
Cargo crime is a 24/7/365 phenomenon but the outbreak of COVID-19, and the lockdown enforced by governments across the EMEA region, has severely disrupted the activities of both organised crime groups (OCGs) and opportunist cargo thieves.
He added that offenders prefer to disappear into the crowd but with fewer people and vehicles on the streets and roads, criminals-at-large have faced a much higher rate of detection. Subsequently, many have gone-to-ground over this period – but they have not gone away. OCGs, in particular, will be looking to make up for lost ‘income’ during this period and this is likely to result in much higher risks for the transport and logistics industry, with trucks remaining most vulnerable to attack.
TAPA notes that unfortunately the majority of attacks and losses are still not reported to its Incident Information Service, in 2019 it still recorded 8,548 cargo thefts in 48 countries across EMEA, the highest total in TAPA’s 23-year history, and up 114.7% year-on-year.
These crimes alone produced a combined loss for the manufacturers and LSPs targeted of more than €137 million, while the daily loss value of cargo products across the whole year stood at €378,058.