Curbing Freight Crime in South African Supply Chains

Freight crime in South African supply chains
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Freight crime in South Africa is on the rise. This article summarises key insights from a recent webinar hosted by TT Club and BSI on strategies to mitigate cargo theft risks.

Key Speakers

The webinar featured experts from TT Club, an insurer for the international transport and logistics industry, and BSI, a business services company. Speakers included:

  • Julian Horn, Senior Underwriter at TT Club
  • Mike Yarwood, Managing Director of Loss Prevention at TT Club
  • David Fernie, Supply Chain Security Consultant at BSI
  • Jim Yarbrough, Global Intelligence Program Head at BSI
  • Anne Marie Bonnen, Claims Executive at TT Club

Polling during the webinar found most attendees agree that cargo theft has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Speakers concurred, noting rises in both theft frequency and average loss values. Facility thefts now account for over 50% of incidents, up from around 25% previously.

Changing Theft Locations and Targets

Johannesburg remains the main hotspot, but the geographic spread of cargo crime is increasing countrywide. Theft of medical supplies and PPE has grown significantly as these goods became highly sought after. Alcohol, food items and electronics have declined as targets.

Mitigation Strategies

Experts provided numerous cargo security recommendations, including:

Physical and Technical Measures

  • Reduce facility access points and use robust fencing, barriers and lighting
  • Employ stringent access controls like badging systems
  • Install extensive CCTV coverage and ensure it is properly maintained
  • Conduct regular risk assessments and maintenance reviews

Procedural Steps

  • Raise employee awareness and vigilance through training
  • Vet new hires thoroughly to minimise insider threats
  • Closely control access by visitors, contractors and temporary staff
  • Report unusual activities promptly


With cargo losses continuing to rise, implementing layered security programs can help transport firms and facilities safeguard their operations from evolving cargo crime threats.

Staff Author

TT Club