Cost of living crisis sees new cargo crime risks emerge

The impact of the war in Ukraine on global oil prices and the cost-of-living crisis has seen criminal gangs change the way they steal the world’s goods, according to new data.

The latest Annual Cargo Theft Report for 2022 by TT Club, TAPA EMEA and BSI SCREEN Intelligence showed an overall decline in global incidents over the previous year but with increasing emphasis on basic goods, food and beverages, fuel and auto parts linked to the inflationary effect on the value of such items.  The study found; however, theft of high value electronics remains constant.

The combined trend analysis and experience of the three organisations, international freight insurer TT Club, the Transported Asset Protection Association’s Europe, Middle East & Africa region (TAPA EMEA), and BSI, found there was a consistent level of theft from facilities, an increase in container and trailer theft, and global reduction in hijackings,

The inflationary trends have effected illegal market demand for more basic goods, with food and beverages, auto parts and fuel all increasingly targeted.

The over-arching trend is for criminals to adapt to inflation and lessened port congestion and evolve more fraudulent methods of targeting specific goods it added.

“Our report explores these themes in more detail by way of case studies that look at how social unrest in Latin America, particularly Chile, Peru and Brazil, has provided a weakness exploited by thieves,” explained Mike Yarwood, MD Loss Prevention at TT.  “Also, how in South Asia crime involving fraudulent practices, like fictitious pickups to target cargo, are manifest.”

Of the increases in various types of commodities stolen, TAPA EMEA identified a significant year-on-year rise in the number of fuel thefts recorded in the region, one of the most prominent trends recorded.

“This is clearly driven by the impact of the war in Ukraine on global oil prices and the cost-of-living crisis affecting consumers in many countries. We gathered intelligence on fuel losses in 28 countries across EMEA, but mostly in Germany and the United Kingdom, which accounted for 72%.  Higher value fuel crimes also signalled the involvement of bigger organised crime groups, notably thefts from fuel depots,” said Thorsten Neumann, president & CEO of TAPA EMEA.

The report also offers a range of advice on the  steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of theft.  “In particular, we are keen to give guidance on how operators can combat the practice of fictious pick-ups and the threat of insider influence in cargo crime,” said David Fairnie, BSI’s principal consultant on Supply Chain Security.  “Our guidelines are extensive and they can help to reduce risk and enhance the overall security and resilience of the supply chain. However, it’s important to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Each organization must develop a tailored risk management plan based on its specific risks and circumstances.”