From manufacturing and logistics to delivery and final sale to the customer, products are at risk of being lost or stolen all along the supply chain. While employee and internal errors make up a large proportion of losses, external theft can account for up to a quarter of loss in some sectors. And worrying new statistics from the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) show that cargo theft is on the rise — especially in the UK.

We look into the recent spike in cargo thefts and what we can do to mitigate risks when taking a product from A to B.

Cargo Thefts Spike

In just the first half of 2020, over £70m worth of products were lost to cargo theft (defined as any goods or freight taken while being transported by road, rail, air, or sea).

Even more worryingly, the UK not only topped the list for cargo thefts in 2020, it actually made up for over half of all reported cargo thefts in EMEA supply chains.

While TAPA did clarify that UK law enforcement supplied more intelligence than other EMEA countries, the reported 1670 instances of cargo theft in the UK shows a marked increase from the 382 instances reported in Q1 of 2018. Only Germany was close behind with 827
reports of cargo theft, with the Netherlands, Spain, and Russia taking third, fourth, and fifth places.

The largest theft in EMEA supply chains also occurred in the UK on the 9th of March 2020, when over £7.5m worth of computing equipment was stolen from a truck in Nuneaton.

Four other instances of cargo theft in the UK made TAPA’s list of the top 10 highest value cargo thefts in 2020, including the theft of a semi-trailer containing nearly £3m worth of tobacco in Daventry, over £1m worth of alcohol stolen from a haulage yard in Haydock, over £1m worth of sporting goods from a warehouse in Grimsby, and just under £1m worth of clothing from a facility in Lincolnshire.

How Do We Mitigate The Risk?

We’re happy to report that none of these instances were Transmode thefts! We take loss management incredibly seriously and constantly review the security measures along our supply chains to minimise the risk of cargo theft.

Cargo thieves can be determined and dangerous, but there are some ways we can deter them and prevent them from being successful.

Stay Aware And Flexible

Keeping up to date with reports like TAPA’s is incredibly important when it comes to staying one step ahead of thieves and organised crime. Knowing how, when, and where criminal gangs operate allows us to modify routes and rest stops to prevent theft.

For example, we know that nearly half of all cargo thefts occur at the weekend, when cargo is not moving and unattended. We also know that thieves exploit the Friday rush to steal cargo when they know there’ll be less scrutiny of credentials at logistics facilities.

So we can ensure all weekend rest stops take place in secure, well-lit car parks equipped with CCTV and other security measures. And we can brief employees to be extra-vigilant when checking paperwork, especially during their busiest times.

Make The Most Of High-Tech Security Measures

High-tech security solutions like vehicle immobilisers, shipment trackers, and security seals can be a huge deterrent to even the most determined cargo thieves.

If you are moving a particularly high-value shipment or transporting freight through a known high-risk area, additional security measures should be considered.

Increase Employee Screening

According to logistics security experts, a large number of cargo thefts rely heavily on insider knowledge.

That’s why we thoroughly screen and vet all of our employees, as well as establishing a strong culture of security awareness in our teams.

Carry Out Regular Security Audits And Training

Organised crime is ever evolving so we should be too. Reassess and improve your security measures as frequently as possible, to stay on top of the latest research, developments, and technology.

It’s important to provide frequent and updated training for your employees too. Ensuring your drivers are well-versed in hijack prevention and awareness can go a long way to minimising the risk of cargo theft. All employees should be trained in security techniques such as properly securing vehicles, the correct methods for guarding a freight facility, learning how to assess the safety of a rest stop, assessing paperwork and recognising fake credentials, and avoiding theft hotspots — for example, knowing not to stop within 400 miles of a shipping point, known as a ‘red zone’ for hijacking.

Cargo theft is a huge problem, and it’s not getting any easier. Here at Transmode, we put our drivers’ safety first and ensure all of our cargo is protected properly. If you’re looking for a trusted logistics partner, get in touch today to find out how we can help.

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