TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) has received reports of over 400 thefts of products from supply chains between 1 March-31 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 alone, the Association 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.

The 2020 figures, though, show a significant drop over TAPA’s IIS statistics for the same period of 2019. Then, over the course of the corresponding 90 days, the Association’s incident database was notified of over 2,500 cargo thefts with a total value in excess of €33 million.

With communities and businesses across EMEA now starting to return to some kind of normal, Thorsten Neumann, President & CEO of TAPA EMEA, expects a substantial rise in criminal activity, adding to the financial and reputational pressures on the supply chain sector.

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

Thorsten Neumann added that cargo thieves see disruptions to supply chains as windows of opportunity. The emerging risk for businesses is due to the distortion of their supply chains; blanked sailings, ships not calling at all ports, short term shift to rail from China-to-Europe - either due to less air and sea capacity or excessive air cargo rates, and shifts from scheduled to charter freighter flights.

Companies should expect to see a spike in cargo crimes impacting every mode of transport over the rest of 2020 as cargo thieves get back to business