REPORT: Cargo theft reaches 5 year high in EMEA region
The reporting of cargo theft and crimes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) reached a five-year high last year, according to the Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) incident information service.
The association says that 1,515 freight thefts were reported during the year, representing a 37.4 percent increase over 2014’s figures.
The TAPA report suggests that this reflects the growing awareness of cargo crime among law enforcement agencies in the EMEA region, as well as greater compliance by police in major European countries to share data with TAPA.
“We know that the number of cargo crimes reported by TAPA and others still only reflects what may be a relatively low percentage of overall cargo crime,” says TAPA EMEA chairman, Thorsten Neumann. “Often this is because freight thefts are recorded by law enforcement agencies only as commercial property or vehicle crimes, so it is difficult to extract the data that specifically relates to supply chain losses.”
Neumann says the system by which crimes are reported is changing, though, and in 2015, TAPA received a record number of intelligence updates from police, describing this as “extremely encouraging,” as it could help produce a more accurate picture of cargo crime in Europe, Middle East and African countries.
Without the involvement of authorities, the picture can be extremely skewed. In Belgium during 2014, just 12 cargo thefts were recorded by TAPA EMEA’s incident information service. Last year, however, Belgian police identified and shared information with TAPA on 341 cargo crime incidents.
The more accurate data puts Belgium at a similar level with other major European supply chain gateways, such as the Netherlands, which recorded 458 cargo crime incidents in 2015, and the United Kingdom, with 367 thefts or attempted thefts recorded last year.
TAPA said it is fostering closer relationships with law enforcement agencies in various EMEA countries, where attacks on facilities and goods in transit are especially high. During the course of 2015, the association organized conferences for supply chain security stakeholders and law enforcement agencies in Germany, South Africa, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to discuss the challenges of cargo crime.
Most crimes involved theft from vehicles, usually at unsecured parking locations, such as motorways services, industrial estates or lay-bys close to major highways, when drivers needed to take mandatory rest breaks.