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Cargo theft gets more sophisticated

By Staff Reports on June 16, 2014

The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) launched what it calls the most comprehensive supply chain security standards in TAPA’s 17-year history to combat increasingly sophisticated thefts.

The new 2014 versions of TAPA’s Facility Security Requirements and Trucking Security Requirements are the result of a year-long review process involving TAPA members worldwide.

“Organized gangs of criminals around the world are becoming more sophisticated and daring in their attempts to steal products during the logistics process, and that’s why we regularly review and often upgrade the standards,” Paul Linders, who leads TAPA’s global standards committee, said.

The association says cargo crime is no longer petty, opportunist theft carried out by individuals. Today, it is coordinated by organized international gangs whose attacks often involve violent and armed hijackings of vehicles, facilities and employees as well as fraudulent pick-ups, fake police stops, bogus personnel, slashing open trailer curtains and attacks on moving vehicles.

“Cargo crime as a whole is increasing, and one of the biggest challenges we face is getting businesses and law enforcement agencies to report loss data to help us understand the true scale of the problem and to provide intelligence that helps companies plan their supply chains using the latest market information,” Linders said. “At TAPA, our analysis tells us that losses suffered by our members are three times lower than the industry average, although that leaves absolutely no room for complacency. The cost of a single loss can be between 4-11 times its original value, hence the TAPA standards can significantly contribute to measurable supply chain risk management.”

Below is regional crime data:


Europe, Middle East & Africa

Cargo crime figures for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for 2013 showed a 66 percent increase in the number of incidents reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service, with an average loss figure for the 1,145 recorded crimes of 235,000 euros (US$317,957). The loss value of the 10 biggest cargo crimes in the region in 2013 was over 55 million euros (US$74.4 million).

In the first quarter of 2014, a total of 216 cargo crime incidents were reported in EMEA. The average loss figure for the first quarter of 2014 for all recorded incidents was over 210,000 euros (US$284,132). The biggest single crime in Q1 was the theft of 5-6 million euros (US$6.7-8.1 million) of smartphones in Paris close to Charles de Gaulle Airport.



In the first quarter of 2014, TAPA Americas’ Incident Information Service recorded a total of 196 thefts in the U.S., with 76 thefts in January, 43 in February and 77 in March.

The average loss value per incident during the quarter was US$216,208 (159,663 euros). The largest single crime was the theft of a truckload of cowboy boots stolen from Carrolton, Texas, which had a declared value of $2,261,495 (1.6 million euros).


Asia Pacific

TAPA APAC recorded 215 cargo theft incidents throughout Asia in 2013, a slight drop from the 2012 record high of 228. Of the 215 cargo thefts, 49 percent were hijackings, while 20 percent were thefts of loads from trailers.

“The average loss value per incident increased from US$377,307 in 2012 to US$620,954 in 2013,” Lee Chan Wai, TAPA APAC Incident Information Service lead, said. “Clothing/footwear and metal products accounted for 56 percent of the recorded IIS incidents in 2013.”

Violent truck hijacks accounted for 51 percent of Asia’s total cargo crime incidents in 2013.