Wednesday, September 18, 2019

International Marine Insurers Urge for Steps to be Taken to Mitigate Cargo Crime

Theft of Freight Rises Despite Advancing Technologies
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) has published a revision of its position paper containing recommendations aimed at improving the prevention of cargo theft and countering this growing issue. Criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated as the technology used to protect goods in transit evolves.

A study conducted in Germany in 2018, estimated the direct losses caused by cargo theft from trucks to be €1.3 billion with an additional €900 million due to penalties for delays in delivery, repair costs as well as lost sales and business interruption. In 2008, an EU/Europol study, based on Transported Asset Protection Association's (TAPA) figures, estimated that the economic damage of cargo theft in Europe alone amounts to €8.2 billion per year.

Even though there are no similar official studies in other areas of the world, IUMI suggests that cargo thefts have a similar negative impact across all the continents. These are no small numbers, and a more updated and better overview is needed for relevant authorities to decide on further actions in their respective country or region.

IUMI reports that cargo crime has reached alarming proportions and is urging that steps are taken, particularly in the field of transnational cooperation between international law enforcement agencies, to mitigate the situation. IUMI's Policy Forum Chair, Helle Hammer says:

"Unfortunately, cargo theft continues to surge, and it is having a negative impact on supply chains and economies around the world. We are calling for improved preventative measures to be put in place. Cargo crimes are a large burden to society as the costs caused by stolen cargo, business interruption and loss of reputation do not simply disappear but are factored into the pricing of the products which are moved around the globe every minute of every day.

”Cargo theft is often portrayed as a victimless crime. It is important to remember that cargo theft is not only a financial consideration but is also putting at risk the safety of the people working in the transport sector. Protecting their safety is vital."

IUMI's position paper includes a number of considerations that will help prevent cargo theft. These include the continuation of exchange of best practice across borders on local initiatives; establishing a dedicated cargo theft taskforce; training with a focus on cargo theft awareness and prevention and enhanced due diligence by shippers, logistics/transportation companies when selecting agents and staff.

Recent years have seen many advances in the field of cargo protection such as tracking of containers using sensors to detect unauthorised movement or opening and physical protection such as that offered by door-less containers as produced by such as CakeBoxx, yet many shippers neglect such precautions to their ultimate cost.