There are large amounts of valuable cargo such as electronics, expensive watches and high-end fashion clothing, as well as expensive pharmaceuticals, that are flown daily by air and are then trucked from the main airport hubs to their final destination. Theft throughout the supply chain has always been a problem. Violent theft, with serious injury or death to truckers has in the meantime become a worse enemy.
TAPA has the leading role
The Transported Asset Protection Association, better known in the industry as TAPA, has since its inception in 1997 been very active in trying to cut down theft of cargo in the supply chain by setting up strict security standards through training, networking and the exchange of security intelligence among its members.
South African theft becomes worse
Recently Thosten Neumann, President & CEO TAPA Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) highlighted the issue of violent cargo crimes in South Africa. In his statement he said that “cargo crime in South Africa is hardly news anymore - but companies do not have to face this threat alone and should not think there are no solutions to make their supply chains more resilient.”
Violent means of robbing truckloads or entire facilities is in the meantime a day-to-day occurrence in South Africa. In May of this year a truck driver was killed when his vehicle was forced off the road and thieves got away with clothing valued at almost US$200,000. Just one incident which highlights the need for better security education in this area also.
TAPA has their own list of crimes related to cargo theft and are not happy at all with the fact that in 2018 they recorded almost 4,000 cargo crimes in the EMEA area alone. This was a staggering 38.2% increase on the previous year, with losses amounting to around US$172 million. TAPA’s report shows that the average daily loss from supply chains across 35 countries who actually reported thefts to them, was in the region of US500,000. Someone somewhere is footing the bill!
How to stay one step ahead?
Back to the South African problem, which is by no means the only hotspot TAPA is trying to tame.
Due to what can be seen as the lack of proper training and awareness on the part of handlers, truckers and others in the supply chain, TAPA is organizing a one day South Africa Regional Conference on July 26th with the aim of bringing businesses across the country together to share intelligence and promote security standards to minimize cargo theft and eradicate violence.
On the agenda are topics such as: How to avoid truck violence - Employee collusion in cargo losses - Supply chain sustainability - Managing operational risk, and much more. It is hoped that there will be a large attendance. Further information on this important event can be gained by logging onto firstname.lastname@example.org
Thorsten Neumann and his team have come a long way since TAPA’s inception in 1997, but there is still much to achieve and his message to the industry is: “South Africa is like so many other countries in EMEA in respect of the significant under-reporting of cargo crimes but the intelligence we do have provides a very clear understanding of the modus operandi used by criminals to steal products from facilities, parked trucks and while vehicles are en-route.”
Being TAPA certified is a valuable selling point
Setting up a stricter security regime has not been an easy task, as in the beginning there was some complacence on the part of the air cargo industry due to the fact that “one tended to take into account a certain amount of loss through theft.”
This has changed since then and handlers around the world are more than keen to claim TAPA certification for their premises. This in itself is a valuable selling point to shippers of highly valuable cargo, who at the end of the day foot the bill for losses through theft.
Still however, theft is a multi-billion-dollar problem for the industry and in the meantime is run by highly organized criminal bands who do not shy away from injuring or even killing those who are there to protect such shipments.
John Mc Donagh