Congestion In The Supply Chain Increases Risk Of Cargo Theft

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According to a collaborative assessment on global cargo theft trends for 2021, the risk of in-transit, vehicle-based attacks has shifted to losses while cargo is at rest — storage places are major at-risk regions as reported by TT Club.

Widespread congestion

During the period, robbers had more opportunities due to widespread congestion at ports and inland infrastructure. 

  • Globally cargo thefts from or of vehicles in transit declined as incidents at storage facilities rose to nearly 30%
  • In North America prevalence of port congestion and railhead, delays are seen as a crucial factor
  • Idle times in European locations also augmented theft and stowaway risk
  • Strict Covid-19 protocols at Asian ports, particularly in China created delays and backlogs leading to theft opportunities
  • Increased influence of insider infiltration into operator organisations such as haulage companies and warehousing facilities
  • Adoption by criminals of new technology-assisted by increased digitalisation of supply chain processes and communication

Annual report

The annual report, based on recent incident data for the whole of 2021 collated from sources including law enforcement agencies, governments and trade associations, has been compiled, as in the past years by leading international transport and logistics insurer, TT Club and global provider of supply chain intelligence, BSI.

“Constant vigilance is required in order to combat the growing risk divergence in theft trends,” says Mike Yarwood, Managing Director, Loss Prevention at TT Club.

Criminals are quick to adapt to prevailing conditions and have swiftly responded to the increased opportunities that supply chain congestion presents through the amount of cargo lying idle.

In addition, the transport industry’s growing reliance on technology and a rapidly changing market for sourcing materials and components have opened up new avenues for criminals to take advantage of companies’ increased vulnerabilities.

TT, along with its partners is committed to tracking and reporting on such developments in criminals’ methods of operation in order to reduce the risk of losses wherever possible.”

Global cargo thefts

As the graphic above illustrates the products most frequently involved in global cargo thefts overall last year, included agricultural produce (12%), food and beverage (14%), construction materials (9%) and electronics (10%).

The report also offers advice on how operators can protect their cargo from the theft risks outlined. Tony Pelli, BSI’s Practice Director for Security and Resilience has produced a checklist of precautionary action points.

Vigilance is paramount, and we hope our reporting and advice will help supply chain partners to maintain and increase their diligent efforts to combat crime.”

This comes from increasingly active and sophisticated organised crime groups which often regard supply chains as an easy and lucrative target.

Sadly, too many companies wait to seek solutions until they become a victim of a cargo crime but, by then, they will have suffered a significant financial and reputational loss.

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Source: TT Club

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