TT Club and BSI Freight Crime in Gulf Countries and Regional Free Trade Zones


In examining cargo crime in the Gulf countries, warehouse thefts and supply chain corruption stand out as risks to supply chains, with noted concerns in specifically the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) despite efforts by government officials to combat the issue. To understand both cargo crime trends and the methodologies employed by criminals operating in this region, this report also examines the role special economic zones play in the Middle East. This role includes liberalizing trade and normalizing diplomatic relations, but also potentially facilitating crimes affecting the supply chain, such as contraband smuggling. Because Free Trade Zones (FTZ) are significant structural components of the political economy in the Middle East, particularly for Gulf countries, they also represent potential vulnerabilities for supply chains by virtue of facilitating high volumes of trade under simplified customs procedures that can provide opportunities for criminals to act. Furthermore, as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies return to pre-pandemic levels, with data provided by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) projecting growth in trade, it is possible that criminals will seek to exploit these higher volumes of trade to introduce illicit drugs and counterfeited products into cargo.


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Staff Author

TT Club