You only have to look at the trends in recorded cargo crime over the last five years to see the growing level of threats to supply chains in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region.


Measuring the latest intelligence reported by TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) for Q2 2019 against the same three months of 2015, the data reveals:

·        Recorded incidents up 379% to 1,485 in Q2 2019

·        Losses with a value up 744.7% to €21,048,706 in Q2/19

·        Major losses up 166.6%, producing an average in Q2/19 of €677,010

·        Average daily loss in Q2 2019 up 744.7% to €231,304

·        Most recorded type of incident – Theft from Vehicle – up 351.3% to 853 in Q2/19

·        Most recorded type of location – Unclassified Parking Location – up 424.2% in Q2/19

·        Number of countries in EMEA reporting losses in Q2/19 – up 87.5% to 30

Cargo crimes in EMEA have seen record year-on-year growth in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – and 2019 has already set a new record for incidents reported to TAPA’s IIS after just six months of the year. The 4,187 crimes published in the TAPA EMEA IIS Reports for Q1 and Q2 2019 surpasses the 2018 total by 5.1% and shows a total value for incidents with financial data of more than €55 million or an average of €305,605 per day.

It should also be remembered that, in Q2 for example, less than 30% of crimes recorded in TAPA’s IIS database provided any product values at all.

Behind these alarming numbers, however, sits some very positive news; the growing trust and intelligence sharing between national law enforcement agencies in EMEA and TAPA, which is providing new and vital information for security professionals trying to protect their supply chains across the region or, in other words, significantly reducing the likelihood of becoming a victim of cargo thieves.   

Building these stronger law enforcement relationships is one of TAPA EMEA’s core focus because every incident report increases its members’ understanding of when, where and how cargo crimes at occurring and the types of products being targeted. In the case of the latter, of course, it is now virtually every product criminals can lay their hands on.


So, although the level of cargo crime recorded by TAPA’s IIS remains only a sample of what is believed to be the true number of incidents in the EMEA region – as cited by an industry report last year of the €2 billion-plus cost of incidents in Germany alone – the growth in the level of reporting is a significant and welcome achievement.

Compared to the levels of 555 and 689 incidents recorded back in 2011 and 2012, for example, the last five years have seen a substantial growth in crimes reported to TAPA EMEA:  

·        2014 – 1,102 cargo crimes reported to TAPA EMEA

·        2015 – 1,515 recorded incidents, up 37.4% year-on-year

·        2016 – 2,611 incidents, up 72.3%

·        2017 – 2,880 incidents, up 10.3%

·        2018 – 3,981 incidents, up 38.2%

Q2 cargo crime rose 167% in 12 months

In the 91 days of Q2/19, the total loss value of the 29.7% of incidents providing financial data was €21,048,706, representing a daily loss for the three months of €231,304 or an average for all crimes with a value of €47,621.

This total included the €16,248,454 attributed to the 24 major cargo crimes in the quarter, classed as individual losses with a value of €100,000 or more. Though the overall number of major incidents fell significantly in Q2 2019, due primarily to the near 50% reduction in crimes giving a value versus Q2/18, the average loss for major incidents in Q2/19 still stood at €677,018 as cargo thieves were active in 30 countries across EMEA.

As well as incidents across Europe and Scandinavia, TAPA’s IIS recorded losses from trucks and warehouses in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Morocco.

The strong support shown to TAPA EMEA by French law enforcement agencies is reflected in the fact that France recorded the highest number of cargo crimes for the second consecutive quarter – 480 or 32.3% of the Q2/19 total.

This, of course, does not mean supply chains are more at risk in France than elsewhere in the region. In fact, higher rates of recorded crime often mean a country is safer to operate in for companies with access to TAPA’s incident intelligence because they have a clearer understanding of where criminals are most active and can avoid these areas.

Germany is another country where police authorities are proactively supporting the crime prevention programmes of TAPA’s members. In Q2 2019, Germany accounted for a further 410 or 27.6% of all new incidents added into the IIS database. The Netherlands and United Kingdom where the only other countries with triple-digit rates of cargo losses with 165 or 11.1% and 119 or 8% respectively. Overall, the top 10 countries – which also included Spain, Russia, South Africa, Belgium, Romania and Italy – saw 91.8% of all recorded cargo crimes in the EMEA region. Only four further countries reported 10 or more losses:


·        Czech Republic – 23 incidents in Q2/19

·        Sweden – 16 incidents

·        Denmark – 12 incidents

·        Slovakia – 10 incidents

The United Kingdom, for so long the main country in EMEA for cargo crime, was the only nation in the top 10 to record a decline in the number of incidents reported to TAPA’s IIS database, with recorded crimes down 68.6% year-on-year from 380 in Q2 2018. The rest of the top 10 all saw significant growth in crime rates, based on intelligence collated by the Association:

·        France – incidents rose 5,233.3% year on year

·        Germany – recorded cargo crimes up 4,000%

·        Netherlands – up 117.1% vs. Q2 2018

·        Spain – incidents up 542.8%

·        Russia – incidents up 311%

·        South Africa – incidents rose 342.8%

·        Belgium – incidents climbed 480%

·        Romania – incidents 73.3% higher year-on-year

·        Italy – incidents reported to TAPA up 257.1%

Ironically, the highest value loss in the three months to the end of June 2019 didn’t occur in any of these countries. It was the single incident reported in Albania in Q2/19 which saw a gang ‘hold up’ an aircraft at Tirana airport and escape with its cargo of €10 million in cash.

Losses recorded in 19 TAPA IIS product categories

As seen in Q1 2019, despite the strong growth in incident reporting, the high volume of intelligence from law enforcement agencies often excludes information TAPA typically receives from individual companies or insurers, notably the types of products stolen in cargo crimes.

In 1,132 or 76.1% of loss reports in Q2/19, the goods targeted or stolen were recorded as either unspecified or miscellaneous. For the second quarter in a row, Tobacco products or cigarettes accounted for most losses in the known product categories with 55 incidents, 3.7% of the Q2 total.

10 other IIS categories recorded double-digit incident rates:

·        Food & Drink – 53 incidents or 3.5% of all Q2 crimes

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 40 or 2.6%

·        Clothing & Footwear – 35 or 2.3%

·        No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 35 or 2.3%

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 23 or 1.5%

·        Metal – 19 or 1.3%

·        Car Parts – 18 or 1.2%

·        Computers/Laptops – 15 or 1%

·        Tools/Building Materials – 14 or 0.9%

·        Tyres – 12 or 0.8%


By value, five countries saw losses for cargo crimes with a value of more than €1 million:


·        Albania – 1 incident with a loss value of €10 million

·        Germany – 248 incidents with a combined loss of €3,779,354

·        United Kingdom – 6 incidents produced a total loss of €1,435,758

·        Russia – 35 incidents and a cumulative loss of €1,425,982

·        Romania – 26 incidents with a total value of €1,067,909


In Q2 2019, the highest recorded incident rate involved Theft from Vehicle crimes, which represented 853 or 57.4% of the three-month total. Most of the 281 or 18.9% of crimes classified as Theft also saw thieves targeting goods onboard trucks, while Theft from Trailer, Theft of Vehicle, Theft of Trailer and Truck Theft accounted for more than 15% of the remaining crimes. The 51 cases of Theft from Facility, in comparison, was only 3.4% of the Q2/19 total.


In the three months ended 30 June 2019, 907 or 61% of the cargo crimes reported to the Association’s IIS database were recorded as taking place in unclassified parking locations, in other words places where TAPA or the company, organisation or person filing the incident report is unable to verify the security of the parking place. These unsecured locations continue to pose the highest risks to drivers, vehicles and cargo loads and are the reason behind TAPA’s new secure parking initiatives and Parking Security Requirements (PSR) industry standard.

These crimes trends are continuing in Q3 2019. The 114 new incidents already added to the IIS database in EMEA for July produced a total loss of €1,410,642 or an average for crimes with a value of €50,380. This included four major losses, including:

·        €350,000 theft of alcohol from a trailer in an unclassified parking location in Haaften, Gelderland in the Netherlands, on 27 July

·        €130,349 loss of kitchen appliances stolen from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in York, UK, on 18 July

·        €122,405 theft of 22 tonnes of copper after the deceptive stop and hijacking of a truck in Port Elizabeth on 22 July

TAPA recorded losses in 16 countries in EMEA last month.

In Asia Pacific in recent weeks, TAPA’s IIS has also received reports of cargo thefts in Australia, India and Malaysia. These included a €213,525 loss of jewellery/precious metals from a vehicle en route in Perak, Malaysia, on 5 August, and the theft of $100,000 of baby milk formula from an Origin Facility in Victoria, Australia, on 15 July.