Date: 29.04.2021

£150m stolen from supply chains in 2020

Over £400,000 worth of goods in transit were stolen every day from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) supply chains in 2020, even with many countries being under lockdown for much of the year.

The Transport Asset Protection Association (TAPA) recorded 6,463 cargo thefts across 56 countries in the EMEA region despite widespread lockdowns, with average daily losses of £410,082 and total losses amounting to £150m, with warnings that these figures were likely to be the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

While most businesses were focused almost entirely on survival, and law enforcement on policing new government lockdowns, traditional channels of cargo crime data were severely impacted.

However, while some criminal operations would have been disrupted by lockdown measures, 2020 still saw the second-highest rate of incidents in TAPA’s 24-year history.

Only 65.1% of organisations reporting thefts to TAPA shared financial data and TAPA believe that if they had been able to maintain the same level of data sharing from EMEA law enforcement agencies as in normal years, 2020 would have set a new record for cargo crimes.

The total picture of supply chain crime is opaque, because most cargo thefts during road, ocean, air and rail transportation are not reported by victims to TAPA’s incident database.

While the UK and Germany accounted for 74% of cases, with 3,100 and 1,727 crimes respectively, the statistics more accurately reflect the proactive sharing of cargo crime data by British and German law enforcement agencies, than comparative crime levels.

Cargo thieves were quick to target shipments of PPE, with a single break-in to a facility in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in April 2020 taking PPE equipment worth over £4m.

Trucks, trailers and last-mile delivery vans were the most popular targets for cargo thieves, leading TAPA to call for 2,000 new EMEA secure truck parking sites and 400,000 parking places, to prevent vehicles being robbed at unsecured locations like laybys, truck stops and motorway service areas.

The lack of secure truck parking, especially in Europe, was identified in over half of all crime reports to TAPA in 2020.

The highest number of violent attacks took place in South Africa, followed by the UK, Spain and France.

While we take every care to protect our customers’ cargo, including only using secure parking areas and the use of trackers for high value/risk loads, the figures released by TAPA should act as a wake-up call for everyone involved in the movement of goods, because almost every type of cargo is a target for criminals.

Carriers trading conditions limit their liability, which means that if you are a victim of supply chain crime during their carriage any compensation you receive under their terms and conditions is likely to be considerably lower than your actual loss, which is why we recommend All Risk marine insurance to protect you to the full value of the goods.

Metro work with selected partners to offer All Risk marine insurance cover that protects your cargo during every stage of transportation and storage, on a per shipment or annual cover basis.