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Supply chain congestion increases threat of cargo theft

Joint report of 2021 global cargo theft trends finds shift in emphasis from risk of in-transit, vehicle- based attacks to losses while cargo is at-rest -- storage locations are critical at risk areas. Widespread congestion at ports and inland facilities lead to increased opportunity for thieves during the period

London & New Jersey, 16th May 2022

  • Globally cargo thefts from or of vehicles in-transit declined as incidents at storage facilities rose to nearly 30%
  • In North America prevalence of port congestion and railhead delays seen as crucial factor
  • Idle times in European locations also augmented theft and stowaway risk
  • Strict Covid-19 protocols at Asian ports, particularly in China created delays and backlogs leading to theft opportunities
  • Increased influence of insider infiltration into operator organizations such as haulage companies and warehousing facilities
  • Adoption by criminals of new technology- assisted by increased digitalization of supply chain processes and communication

The annual report, based on recent incident data for the whole of 2021 collated from sources including law enforcement agencies, governments and trade associations, has been compiled, as in the past years by leading international transport and logistics insurer, TT Club and global provider of supply chain intelligence, BSI. In this last reporting period input from the Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region has also helped to significantly increase the level of intelligence in these territories.

“Constant vigilance is required in order to combat the growing risk divergence in theft trends,” says Mike Yarwood, Managing Director, Loss Prevention at TT Club. “Criminals are quick to adapt to prevailing conditions and have swiftly responded to the increased opportunities that supply chain congestion presents through the amount of cargo laying idle. In addition, the transport industry’s growing reliance on technology and a rapidly changing market for sourcing materials and components have opened up new avenues for criminals to take advantage of companies’ increased vulnerabilities. TT, along with its partners is committed to tracking and reporting on such developments in criminals methods of operation in order to reduce the risk of losses wherever possible.”


As the graphic above illustrates the products most frequently involved in global cargo thefts overall last year, included agricultural produce (12%), food and beverage (14%), construction materials (9%) and electronics (10%) Significantly, many of the materials used to produce the latter two, such as nitrogen, iron ore, lumber, steel and semiconductors, have all experienced sharp price increases since the outbreak of the global pandemic due to shortages with a consequent increase in the value of the manufactured products.

The report also offers advice on how operators can protect their cargo from the theft risks outlined. Tony Pelli, BSI’s Practice Director for Security and Resilience has produced a checklist of precautionary action points. “To mitigate risk there are a range of safeguards, including careful verification of trucking companies and other sub-contractors; insisting on the provision of details such as driver’s name, trailer number and appointed pick-up times and background screening of employees,” explains Pelli. “Vigilance is paramount, and we hope our reporting and advice will help supply chain partners to maintain and increase their diligent efforts to combat crime.”

Thorsten Neumann, President & CEO, of TAPA EMEA, commented: “What we are seeing in EMEA is a heightened level of risk to virtually all types of goods moving in supply chains across our region. This comes from increasingly active and sophisticated organized crime groups which often regard supply chains as an easy and lucrative target. Sadly, too many companies wait to seek solutions until they become a victim of a cargo crime but, by then, they will have suffered a significant financial and reputational loss. The way forward is to recognize the risks which exist and to learn about the industry standards, training and intelligence solutions which are available today and which are already key to the supply chain resilience of leading manufacturers and freight transport and logistic providers. All is not lost, but it is a time for action to manage these risks and prevent rising product losses.”


About TT Club

TT Club is the established market-leading independent provider of mutual insurance and related risk management services to the international transport and logistics industry. TT Club’s primary objective is to help make the industry safer and more secure. Founded in 1968, the Club has more than 1100 Members, spanning container owners and operators, ports and terminals, and logistics companies, working across maritime, road, rail, and air. TT Club is renowned for its high-quality service, in-depth industry knowledge and enduring Member loyalty. It retains more than 97% of its Members with a third of its entire membership having chosen to insure with the Club for 20 years or more.

Media contact:

Peter Owen
Portcare International
Tel: +44 (0)1737 248300

About BSI

BSI is the business improvement and standards company that enables organizations to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence, ‘inspiring trust for a more resilient world’. For over a century BSI has driven best practice in organizations around the world. Working with over 77,500 clients across 195 countries, it is a truly global business with skills and experience across all sectors including automotive, aerospace, built environment, food and retail and healthcare. Through its expertise in Standards and Knowledge, Assurance Services, Regulatory Services and Consulting Services, BSI helps clients to improve their performance, grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately become more resilient.
To learn more, please visit:

About BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions

BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions is the leading global provider of supply chain intelligence, global supply chain verification auditing services, audit compliance and risk management software solutions, and advisory services. BSI’s supply chain services and solutions and services can work independently to address specific needs or combined together to gain unparalleled visibility into your global operations. Implementing BSI’s holistic supply chain risk management suite provides organizations with a complete solution for a more sustainable and secure supply chain. To learn more, please visit

About TAPA

The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) is a not-for-profit industry that helps Manufacturers/Shippers and Logistics Service Providers minimize losses resulting from cargo thefts and to increase the security and resilience of their supply chains. Today, in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region, the Association provides a host of certifiable, independently-audited industry Standards for facilities, trucking operations and secure parking as well as training. The TAPA EMEA Intelligence System (TIS) also provide the latest and historic recorded incident intelligence, enabling more secure route planning by helping members understand when, where and how criminals are targeting supply chains, and the products most frequently stolen. The Association strongly advocates the reporting of all cargo thefts to increase industry knowledge of risks and to assist companies’ loss prevention strategies. TAPA EMEA’s President and CEO is Thorsten Neumann.

Media contact:

Jamie Roche, TAPA EMEA
Tel: +44 (0) 1753 900902