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Cargo theft across the world has reached alarming proportions, according to the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI), which has called greater “efforts by law enforcement agencies to increase transnational cooperation to combat cargo theft”.
IUMI’s policy forum chair Helle Hammer said: “Unfortunately, cargo theft continues to surge, and it is having a negative impact on supply chains and economies around the world. We are calling for improved preventative measures to be put in place.
“Cargo crimes are a large burden to society as the costs caused by stolen cargo, business interruption and loss of reputation do not simply disappear but are factored into the pricing of the products which are moved around the globe every minute of every day.”
Recent statistics have shown that cargo crime continues to grow at alarming rates – in the first half of 2019, thefts of products from supply chains in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region exceeded €55m, equivalent to over €305,000, according to new incident data reported to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA).
TAPA added that the first half of 2019 was an increase on the full-year 2018, with the number of recoded incidents in the first six months of this year at 4,198, a 5.1% increase in the 3,981 thefts in 2018.
However, Thorsten Neumann, president chief executive of TAPA EMEA, said that the reported incidents were only a fraction of the full extent of the problem.
“While these figures should set alarm bells ringing for manufacturers and the cargo industry, they are still only a fraction of the full impact of freight losses in the region.
“Less than 30% of the losses in Q2/19 provided any financial data and, even more significantly, it is important to remember that we can only share intelligence on the thefts reported to our IIS database.
“The vast majority of crimes still are not being reported to us but we, and other associations we are engaged with, estimate the true cost of loss to be billions of euros every year in our region,” he said.
A new position paper on cargo theft from IUMI explained that the huge growth in e-commerce had allowed criminals to sell stolen goods through legitimate channels.
“In many cases, cargo crimes are not committed out of opportunity or as single incidents. The perpetrators or groups of perpetrators are proceeding in a well-organised and highly professional manner.
“The organisation of their operations often covers every detail from the gathering of information by insiders to sales planning in case of “theft to order”.
“The criminal structures behind the thefts are increasingly transnational and online communication is becoming fundamentally important for the planning and execution of these operations.
“The misuse of online freight exchange platforms is an example where criminals take on the identity of legitimate freight carriers, using their employees’ names, companies and logos to organise thefts of cargo offered for transport on those electronic freight platforms,” it said.
However, the IUMI paper offered a number of solutions to help prevent cargo theft, including “the continuation of exchange of best practice across borders on local initiatives; establishing a dedicated cargo theft taskforce; training with a focus on cargo theft awareness and prevention; and enhanced due diligence by shippers, logistics/transportation companies when selecting agents and staff”.