Supply chain Thefts in the EMEA Region Resulted in Losses of Over €172m in 2020 – TAPA Report

  • By admin,

Transported Asset Protection Association’s recent Cargo Theft Annual Report has revealed that theft from supply chains in the EMEA region, which is – Europe, Africa, and the Middle East region, resulted in reported losses of over 172m Euros, which equals almost €500,000 per day. 

This number, albeit shocking maybe just the tip of the supply chain crime iceberg due to the following two reasons:

  • Less than two-thirds of the TAPA members share real financial data.
  • A majority of losses are believed to go unreported.

TAPA recorded 6,463 cargo thefts across 56 countries in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region despite widespread lockdowns.

These figures should serve as a big wake-up call for those involved in the supply chain.

COVID-19 uncovered a lack of preparedness along supply chains, which the criminals can exploit.

For example, in the Schengen Area of the European Union, the traffic usually flows freely, but several loaded trucks were stuck at border crossings for hours during the lockdowns. These unexpected stops and changes of the plan put the unsecured goods at risk.

When crimes are committed along multinational supply chains, it is difficult to determine the exact location of theft when the cargo crossed borders. Besides that, the non-cooperation between countries also makes it difficult to trace the culprits. The organized criminals are aware of these loopholes, so they plan thefts keeping these weaknesses in mind.

Supply chains are being stretched, and traceability is extremely challenging. Therefore, those involved in the supply chain should think of new and innovative ways to mitigate risks in new, unexpected environments, but the criminals are also adapting faster and taking advantage of the conundrum COVID-19 has created for businesses and supply chains.

The lockdowns could have disrupted some of the criminal operations, but in 2020, TAPA recorded the second-highest rate of incidents in its 24-year history.

Thefts from trucks constituted the vast majority of theft incidents in 2020.

Supply chain risks are complex to assess, and there are several factors involved. One of the serious factors is – insider involvement. For example, criminals send members to work in logistics posts and warehouses, doubling their salary in exchange for confidential information.

The insider information enables criminals to find the weakest links and then attack at the minute when the companies are not prepared.

Besides monetary losses, supply chain thefts also cause reputational damage to businesses, especially if there is a threat of counterfeiting involved.

Therefore, transportation safety measures and risk mitigation strategies should be reinforced, such as reducing night shifts, employing armed escorts for trucks, using GPS, changing routes and schedules frequently.

Additionally, intelligence gathering and increased transparency about the theft incidents and risks can help companies find new strategies to mitigate the risks.