Cargo in transit by road remains the dominant risk for theft according to the second annual report on cargo theft worldwide, with India and China topping the Asian region’s theft ranking, according to a report by the TT Club and supply chain intelligence firm, BSI.
The BSI and TT Club Cargo Theft Report 2020 – available here – confirms the overwhelming targeting of cargo trucks compared to all other modalities. The consistency of this trend year-on-year is also reflected in the 2019 data analysis of top commodities stolen; food and beverages representing 28 per cent of all reported thefts in comparison with 19 per cent in 2018.
Electronics at 13 per cent, alcohol and tobacco at 10 per cent round out the top three most stolen commodities, followed by automotive (7.0 per cent), consumer products (6.0 per cent) and construction materials (5.0 per cent).
In Asia, the most frequently recorded cargo thefts occur in India and China, a trend similar to that of 2018.
TT Club and BSI note that cargo thieves in these two countries are similar in profile and employ a wide range of tactics, ranging from very opportunistic means, such as pilferage and thefts by drivers or passersby, to tactics focusing on in-transit truck thefts. In these types of thefts, thieves drive a vehicle behind a moving cargo truck, board the vehicle, and then throw goods to trailing accomplices.
A significant portion of incidents in both India and China involve thieves stealing goods directly from facilities, which demonstrates poor access controls, the report notes. It adds that terminated employees often retain facility keys that are used to conduct thefts at a later date.
Supply chain corruption is another major element of thefts in Asia, with corrupt employees removing goods they are transporting or accessing shipments stored in warehouses or logistics facilities. Thieves in these instances generally pilfer small numbers of items but occasionally manage to steal larger quantities of goods.
Unlike in 2018, in which metal ranked second for top commodities stolen, BSI and TT Club note an increase in thefts of electronics and construction materials while metal fell to fifth overall in 2019. In both years, food and beverage ranked first as the top commodity stolen in Asia.
Like most regions of the world, the lack of secure parking locations in Asia is a key factor facilitating cargo theft.
The report is unique in that it analyses data from BSI’s supply chain security country risk intelligence tool, SCREEN and TT Club’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights. The authors say the report can play a significant role in educating supply chain professionals in the detailed risk of cargo theft across the globe. Both parties are committed to a proactive approach to minimising human, material and financial losses resulting from cargo crime, they add.
TT Club’s Mike Yarwood urges all those concerned about cargo security to read the report, but emphasises one identified trend in particular: “Thefts either of, or from road vehicles most frequently occurred while in transit, in rest areas or an unsecured parking location. These accounted for 60 per cent of those thefts reported.”
The median value of losses from these incidents ranges from USD 100,000 in South America to just over USD 11,000 in parts of Asia, according to the report. In order of ranking the region with the highest theft problem is South America, followed by North America, Middle East, Europe and Asia at the lowest level.
“We are particularly keen to draw attention to the dangers of such informal parking and encourage the provision of more secured truck stop facilities,” Yarwood adds.