Freight Crime in South African Supply Chains
The prevalence of cargo theft incidents continues to have a material impact on stakeholders in the supply chain in South Africa. Analysis of recorded incidents, increased data sharing agreements, collaborations, and widespread dissemination of findings all serve to improve our understanding of the underlying risks. Knowledge empowers stakeholders to take action, protecting their businesses and those they represent in the supply chain, and reducing the frequency and impact that this type of crime inevitably has.
Throughout 2020, several cargo theft trends developed in South Africa. The threat and violence involved with cargo theft hijackings in South Africa are historically the primary concern for supply chains in the region. While this significant concern remains, gaining a holistic understanding of the threats and trends developing in the region provides a more comprehensive understanding of risk in the area. In addition to historical risks and trends, the first half of 2020 saw an increase in thefts from facilities and theft locations diversified between the first two quarters of 2020, reaching the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Additionally, food and beverage and medical supplies saw an elevated risk throughout the start of 2020.
Understanding these developing risks, coupled with the continual threat of in-transit operations in the country, and how to mitigate the impacts they may have on your organisation is crucial in building a truly resilient supply chain.
FREIGHT CRIME IN SOUTH AFRICAN SUPPLY CHAINS
During the first half of 2020, the strategies employed by thieves shifted slightly in certain regions of the country. In addition to the historical prevalence of violent hijackings in South Africa, more often than previous years, there was an increased portion of cargo theft incidents occurring from warehouses, depots, and other facilities-- likely due in part to the restrictions implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In areas where COVID-19 restrictions prohibited free movement, for example, the threat of cargo thefts increasingly involved cargo trucks left unattended overnight and facilities, like warehouses and depots.
What has not changed is the ingenuity of the perpetrator, the underpinning motivations, and the lengths that they are prepared to go to avoid apprehension. In order to enter a depot or warehouse, these thieves must conduct a great degree of planning and intelligence gathering. Carrying out a successful theft of cargo from a facility generally requires intricate details of security provisions, patrols, entry and exit points, and the operations on-site. Thieves may take advantage of any vulnerabilities in order to complete a theft, including corruption within the supply chain.
Supply chain managers with security responsibilities operate within an ever-changing risk and threat environment. This disruptive environment can be challenging for stakeholders and opportunistic for criminals. As one gap is closed, often the perpetrators shift their focus, either to another unwitting victim or to another strategy, exploiting inadequacies in security measures. Notwithstanding the challenge, it is crucial to take adequate steps to safeguard the business and the property brought into your care, custody, and control.
The prevalence of cargo theft incidents in South Africa continues to have a material impact on stakeholders in the supply chain. Analysis of recorded incidents, increased data sharing agreements, collaborations, and widespread dissemination of findings all serve to improve our understanding of the underlying risks. Knowledge empowers
stakeholders to take action, protecting their businesses and those they represent in the supply chain, and reducing the frequency and impact of this type of crime.