The Transported Asset Protection Association - TAPA - recently released figures concerning cargo theft during the past six months of this year in the EMEA region. The figures are quite sobering and give reason for further concern for the safety of cargo transporters and the problems still facing the industry as far as trying to control theft.
305,000 euros lost each day
That’s the figure that the TAPA EMEA President & CEO, Thorsten Neumann has mentioned in his recent report for the first half year 2019.
Organised theft of air and sea cargo shipments seems to again be on the rise and finding the culprits and bringing them into court becomes more-and-more difficult.
The sum of €305,000 each day in the TAPA EMEA region amounts to around €55 million for the first half year. And - these are just the incidents which have been reported to TAPA. Who knows how high the actual theft amount actually is.
TAPA regularly reports on the theft problem in their Incident Information Service (IIS) bulletins which are issued quarterly. The Q2 report shows that 2019 is already becoming a record year for cargo theft in the region. The amount of recorded thefts has risen to just under 4,200 between January and June this year. This is a 5.1% increase on the same period last year. A worrying situation for Mr Neumann and his team considering that these figures are in his words “still only a fraction of the full impact of freight losses in the region.” He goes on to state that: “less than 30% of the losses in Q2/19 provided any financial data and, even more significantly, it is important to remember that we can only share intelligence on the thefts reported to our IIS database.”
What he is saying is that the majority of thefts are not being officially reported and that the actual amount runs into billions of euros in the EMEA region each year.
Why are losses not being reported?
An increasing number of thefts are being recorded in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and other African regions. TAPA’s statistics on actual reported incidents show a staggering 167% year-on-year rise in cargo thefts in those areas. The dark figure in these regions is surely far much higher. This, due to internal corruption in some government areas as well as companies and drivers coming under personal threat if they report crimes. Other aspects are lack of coordination in some regions in order to initiate a streamlined reporting structure.
TAPA does say however that in this respect, things look far better in France and Germany. Here, law enforcement agencies are being quite cooperative and give TAPA regular updates on theft crimes which occur in their regions.
The weak spots are roads
The majority of air or ocean cargo thefts occur on the roads where trucks are either hijacked or goods stolen when trucks are parked, and drivers are either sleeping or away from their vehicles. Organized gangs are becoming more radical and do not shy away from injuring or even killing drivers who resist them.
TAPA has now launched a new Secure Parking Programme with the addition of almost 5,000 secured parking areas which are accessible for their members. Thorsten Neumann states that more and more companies are adopting the TAPA security standards and that applications for TAPA membership have risen fast during this year.
The problem won’t be solved overnight - but more awareness and concerted action may well go a long way to reduce cargo theft and the resulting financial loss in the future.
John Mc Donagh