Intelligence reported to TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in May provides a sad reminder of the human cost of cargo crime.

On 12 May, a truck driver was killed on the N1 in De Doorns in South Africa’s Western Cape province after offenders threw a rock through his windshield, causing the vehicle to crash. Ignoring the fatally injured driver, the group of thieves then proceeded to steal the truck’s cargo of clothing and footwear products, valued at €156,791.

Fortunately, such disturbing crimes in which drivers lose their lives are still rare but TAPA’s IIS receives reports of violent and physical threats made to drivers on a weekly basis in the EMEA region. Last month, such assaults included a driver being threatened with an axe when two masked attackers targeted his vehicle at a Destination Facility in Hull, East Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom before stealing a shipment of tobacco. Another driver was attacked with an iron bar in Coventry in the West Midlands region of the UK.

Such crimes only go to highlight the vulnerability of drivers and after another month in which recorded thefts or attempted thefts from supply chains in EMEA rose steeply yet again, the risks to driver safety are only likely to escalate.  

Increasing driver awareness of risks remains both a challenge and a priority. To this end, TAPA EMEA is continuing to promote the valuable e-learning training it helped to develop with the IRU Academy. The course not only provides consistent, reliable and generally applicable best practice from TAPA’s security experts, it also does so in under one hour, and can be taken on any device, anywhere, at any pace, and in a traceable way. It is also an extremely affordable solution, costing just €24.00 for TAPA members.

Even in support of companies’ own in-house driver training initiatives, it can act as a useful periodical “refresher” training to reinforce key security principles. The IRU Academy course covers all aspects of a driver's job including:

·        Awareness of security threats and their consequences

·        How to plan routes to reduce risk exposure

·        How and when to conduct vehicle inspections

·        How to spot illegal immigrants, mistakes in cargo documents, and signs of vehicle tampering

·        The value of confidentiality and appropriate use of social media

·        How to react if an incident occurs

To learn more, please click here

Recorded cargo crimes in EMEA in May more than double year-on-year

TAPA’s IIS collected intelligence on a further 307 cargo loss incidents in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region in May 2019 – an increase of 139.8% year-on-year.

While financial data is not always available to highlight the significance of these crimes, each incident report increases TAPA members’ understanding of where thieves are active and how they are targeting supply chains, ultimately reducing their risk of becoming a victim of cargo thieves.

Last month, only 31 or 10.1% of the reported incidents provided a loss value. Collectively, these crimes produced a total loss of €2,064,511 or an average value of €66,597.

The six major cargo thefts recorded in May – based on crimes with a value of €100K and above - represented €1,400,690 of the overall monthly total and accounted for an average loss €233,448 and - in addition to the €156,791 incident highlighted earlier - involved:


A theft of computers/laptops from a truck at a service station in Hengersberg, Bavaria, in Germany on 12 May.


Craft machines, cash and a van stolen after thieves forced their way into an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Au, near Zurich, Switzerland on 18 May. 


A Deceptive Pick-up of a shipment of designer shoes from an Origin Facility in Moscow on 17 May. The driver reportedly used falsified documents to facilitate the collection but contact with the driver and carrier was lost soon afterwards.


An M.O. of Internal was recorded for this theft of a cargo of soft drinks from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa. A despatcher working at the depot was reportedly one of the offenders involved in organising the crime on 8 May, which included the theft of a truck and two trailers.


998 bottles of wine were stolen in this Theft from Facility incident in Burgundy, eastern France, on 9 May. Thieves are said to have forced their way into an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Vosne-Romanée.

In the €50,000-€100,000 loss category, five crimes produced a total loss of €376,742 or an average of €75,348:

·        €93,540 – A shipment of a full truckload of toothpaste that was organised via on online freight auction portal disappeared in Russia shortly after pick-up on 22 May while en route between Moscow and Novosibirsk. Unknown individuals are said to have contacted the driver and instructed him to divert the delivery to an unauthorised location;  

·        €76,400 – Another case in Russia involving Fraud. A driver using false identification documents was able to collect 15 tonnes of clothing products from an Origin Facility in Salaryevo, Moscow, on 27 May. All communication was lost with the driver and freight forwarder within a few hours of the goods being collected;   

·        €72,000 – 17 high value bicycles were stolen in a Theft from Vehicle crime in Vogt in the German state of Baden-Württemberg on 7 May after thieves forced their way into a truck; 

·        €68,230 – Offenders used an online freight exchange portal to offer a cheap transport solution and were awarded a shipment of pharmaceuticals for transportation to a location in Far East Russia. However, within days of the collection on 20 May, the driver had diverted the cargo to an unknown location; 

·        €66,572 – Another cargo crime with an M.O. of Internal, this incident on 3 May involved the theft of food and drink products while en route in Lagos, Nigeria. The driver and an accomplice reportedly diverted the truck from its intended routing and sold the goods, which consisted mostly of milk-based products.

Losses reported to TAPA’s IIS in 17 countries

France recorded the highest number of incidents in May in the IIS database, 139 crimes or 45.3% of the monthly total. Five other countries in EMEA reported double-digit incident rates:

·        Netherlands – 61 recorded crimes

·        United Kingdom – 25

·        Russia – 16

·        Spain – 16

·        Germany – 13

The majority of crimes in the Netherlands continued to involve thieves cutting open truck tarpaulins to steal goods. On the night of 12 May, 48 vehicles were targeted in Venlo in the Dutch province of Limburg. On the same day, 11 trucks were targeted at a secured parking in Venray, Limburg, and TAPA’s IIS was also notified of 30 trailers being attacked by offenders in Asten, North Brabant, on a single night.

Intelligence shared with TAPA EMEA also included the use of cloned tractor units by thieves operating in the United Kingdom, more attacks of last mile deliveries – notably in the UK, and further  cases of violence in South Africa and crimes involving fraud in Russia.          

Thefts recorded in 16 TAPA IIS product categories

The types of goods stolen by thieves were not specified in over 73% of crimes last month but losses were still recorded in 16 TAPA IIS product categories, including the top five of:

·        Food & Drink – 22 or 7.2% of the May total

·        Clothing & Footwear – 15 or 4.9%

·        No Load – 9 or 2.9%

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 8 or 2.6%

·        Tobacco – 7 or 2.3%

For the victims involved in the 235 or 76.5% of crimes which took place when trucks stopped in Unsecured Parking places, TAPA’s programme to build a network of secure parking places across the EMEA region cannot come soon enough. Of the other known types of location, only two recorded double-digit figures; En Route with 15 and Origin Facility with 11.

There was no change in the main types of incidents in May, which followed a longstanding trend. 192 or 62.5% of crimes reported to the Association involved Theft from Vehicle. There were also a further 53 cases of Theft from Trailer and 13 crimes involving Theft of Vehicle.

TAPA members can see all of the latest cargo crime incident data in the password-protected IIS database.