Q1 2019 will go down as the highest three months for recorded cargo crimes in the history of TAPA in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region … but it’s a level likely to be surpassed before too long for very positive reasons.

Any increase in crime is clearly no cause for celebration but in the case of losses from supply chains in Q1/19, any concerns linked to the significant rise in numbers need to be balanced with a true sense of realisation. Freight thefts in EMEA are far, far higher than the 2,702 reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in this latest reporting period. Business associations in Germany, alone, released data in 2018 which estimated that over 26,000 trucks are stolen annually.

So, the real value of this latest increase is the level of new intelligence it provides. Nine of the top 10 countries for cargo losses in EMEA reported substantial growth:

·        France – 740 incidents in Q1/19 vs. 24 in Q1/18, up 2,983.3% year-on-year

·        United Kingdom – 682 incidents vs. 382, up 78.5%

·        Sweden – 553 incidents vs. 34, up 1,526.4%

·        Germany – 379 incidents vs. 25, up 1,416%

·        Netherlands – 146 incidents vs. 57, up 156.1%

·        Spain – 64 incidents vs. 8, up 700%

·        Russia - 55 incidents vs. 37, up 48.6%

·        South Africa – 18 incidents vs. 13, up 38.4%

·        Belgium – 16 incidents vs. 11, up 45.4%


Consequently, TAPA members doing business in the EMEA region now have a far greater pool of intelligence on which to base their risk management and supply chain resilience strategies. The Q1 data provides an unprecedented insight into the towns and cities where cargo thieves are active, the most prominent types of incidents and the M.O. being used to target facilities, trucks and, increasingly, Last Mile delivery vehicles.

Understanding and using this information is increasingly critical because whatever the true level of losses may be, no one doubts the threat is rising. The numbers associated with losses reported to TAPA’s IIS speak for themselves:

  • Recorded incidents up 335.8% year-on-year to 2,702 over a 90-day period
  • Losses with a value up €7.7m or 29.2% to €34,265,926
  • An average daily loss of €380,732
  • The value of major cargo crimes up 16.4% to €17,721,580
  • The average loss for major incidents up 26.7% to €393,812
  • The number of countries in EMEA with recorded incidents up five to 28
  • Theft from Vehicle crimes up 190.1% to 1,268 to more than 14 per day
  • Crimes when trucks stop in Unsecured Parking places up 185.2% to 1,241

This continues a trend which has been gathering pace in recent years.

Five years of growth

TAPA EMEA’s IIS intelligence report for Q1 2019 compares its latest data with the opening three months of 2015 to highlight how cargo crime has escalated across the region over this period:  

  • Incidents reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) up 1,211.6% to 2,702 versus 206 in Q1/15
  • Value of crimes recording financial data up 158.5% to €34,265,926 compared to €13,253,035 five years ago
  • Value of major losses up 7.1% to €761,465
  • Daily losses for reported crimes up 158.5% to €380,732
  • Most recorded type of incident (Theft from vehicle) up 1,324.7% to 1,268 incidents
  • Most reported type of location (Unsecured Parking) up 1,780.3% to 1,241
  • Countries with cargo crimes up 100% from 14 to 28 in five years


As cargo crime rockets across EMEA, so too does the response of all supply chain security stakeholders to optimise the resilience of their supply chains.


Marcel Saarloos, TAPA EMEA’s IIS Lead, said: “One of the most important things we do as an Association is to gather and share intelligence on cargo crime. When our members combine this greater understanding of risk with the adoption of our Security Standards and TAPA training, they make their supply chains more resilient and are far less likely to produce another crime statistic. Our intelligence community is growing to support this and I especially want to acknowledge the contribution of our law enforcement agency partners in EMEA, who provided us with a record level of incident reports in the first three months of 2019. There is no doubt in my mind that our growing partnerships with police forces across the region will enable our members to prevent more crimes from occurring.”