TT Talk - BSI & TT Club release this year's Cargo Theft Report

Truck bridge port

Cargo theft continues to blight the international supply chain, giving rise to disruption, unpredictability and widespread financial exposures. Whilst there are obvious commercial impacts, the loss of cargo and ensuing insurance claims for example, studies continue to develop a greater understanding of the overall impact of cargo theft, both economic and societal. It is widely believed that organised criminal gangs are often the orchestrators of cargo theft and that the proceeds inevitably support other illicit trades.  

In collaboration with BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions, TT Club have published their 2020 cargo theft report looking at 2019 data. The report identifies regional and global trends, providing case study examples to illustrate the associated risks. It brings together threat and intelligence data from BSI’s Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network (SCREEN), and TT Club’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights.

Key findings from the report included:

  • cargo in transit by road remains the dominant risk
  • the instances of food and beverage cargo theft increased their share of the commodity profile
  • reported thefts from unsecure truck parking average 8 per day globally
  • South America ranks highest in median value of cargo thefts per incident in unsecured locations

The report confirms the overwhelming targeting of cargo moved by truck compared to all other modalities; 87% of reported theft cases involved transport of cargo by road in 2019, up from 84% in 2018. The 2019 data also showed that in-transit thefts had risen, accounting for 37% of incidents. In many regions, this highlights the vulnerabilities of road transport and the subsequent need for increased awareness and a greater number of secure truck stop areas.

2019 has seen significant increases in the theft of food and beverage cargoes (rising from 19% to 28%) and electronics (rising from 7% to 13%). These categories of cargo are desirable, fast moving and in the case of food and beverages, consumable, all of which increase the attractiveness to thieves. 

Where methods of theft are considered, 2019 witnessed a decrease in opportunistic slash and grab tactics and a concerning increase in hijacking and theft from vehicle. The report highlights that the methods used continue to vary from region to region, with Central and South America (accounting for 53% of incidents) and South Africa in particular suffering from violent hijacking incidents. Other 2018 to 2019 results comparisons are presented in the report.

The 2020 report includes valuable insights into secure truck parking initiatives run by both government and the private sector, which aspire to reduce the frequency of incidents. It outlines several loss prevention strategies to counter the threats outlined in the report. The risk mitigation advisory section has been co-authored by BSI’s Advisory Supply Chain Security team and TT Club’s claims and loss prevention team.

Cargo is most at risk whilst at rest, whether that be for short statutory breaks or a daily/weekly rest period. Ensuring that the vehicle is parked in a safe and secure location is of paramount importance in protecting the cargo. The joint report outlines a number of secure parking protection measures that should be considered when assessing the risk of a potential parking location.

Vehicle parking areas should have:

  • adequate physical security barriers (perimeter fencing) so that all vehicles are naturally funnelled in and out of a managed and controlled vehicle access point;
  • physical controls (a secure barrier and/or a lockable gate) at all access points for vehicles entering or leaving the parking area;
  • access points managed appropriately to ensure all vehicles and drivers are checked and validated prior to entry/exit and no unauthorised vehicles can access the parking area;
  • appropriate CCTV systems monitoring vehicle and pedestrian activities along the perimeter, outside approaching roads and specifically at the points of access to the facility, covering vehicles entering and exiting;
  • adequate procedures in place to ensure overgrown trees and foliage around the parking area are maintained to prevent visual obstructions of the perimeter for CCTV or mobile patrol operations;
  • appropriate lighting to all areas of the parking facility, with increased illumination along the perimeter and at the vehicle and pedestrian access control points to aid security operations as well as in internal vehicle and pedestrian areas in line with good Health and Safety practices; and
  • adequate signs posted across the facility informing all that the site is secure, monitored and that no unauthorised entry is allowed.

BSI and TT Club believe 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.

 We hope that you have found the above interesting. If you would like further information, or have any comments, please email us, or take this opportunity to forward to any colleagues who you may feel would be interested.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox
Risk Management Director, TT Club

Staff Author

TT Club