Half of all thefts from EMEA supply chains took place in the UK in the first half of 2020, with more than €85 million (£77 million) of products were stolen from air, road, sea and rail freight supply chains.
According to data from the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) five of the 46 countries recording cargo theft incidents in the first half of 2020 accounted for 87% of losses reported to TAPA and first was the United Kingdom with 1,670 incidents or 50.9% of the half-year total.
Second was Germany with 827 thefts (25.2%); third was the Netherlands with 170 (5.1%) and fourth was Spain with 129 thefts (3.9%). Russia ranked fifth.
The UK also recorded the highest number of major cargo losses, according to TAPA, with 56 or 63.6% of all crimes with a value of €100,000 or more during the six month period. These produced a total loss of €27.6 million or an average of €493,905.
TAPA said there was a strong presence of organised crime groups (OCGs) across the EMEA region and said they were ‘stealing to order’ given the number of losses of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other in-demand goods such as food and drink and cosmetics and hygiene products.
Of the losses, technology items such as computers, clothing, food and drink, cosmetics, were some of the biggest targets for thefts.
As the black market looked to profit off of the pandemic, millions of PPE items were also taken, including two million face masks and other PPE equipment valued at €5 million were stolen from an origin facility warehouse in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain in April.
Some 50,000 respirators from a destination facility in Cologne, Germany, on 16 March were also stolen, as well as ,millions of respiratory masks stolen from an aviation facility in Kenya on 20 March.
Other PPE items that were stolen include hundreds of thousands of face masks, 50,000 medicals suits, gloves, and hundreds of thousands of other items more.
Toilet rolls also proved popular with thieves, after wide media coverage of international stockpiling proved the household items very valuable.
Thorsten Neumann, president and CEO of TAPA said: The level of cargo crime during the lockdown will focus the minds of companies to make their operations more secure, and TAPA is best-placed to help them with this through our highly-respected industry standards, training and incident intelligence programmes to support risk management and loss prevention.
“We actively encourage more police forces to work with us because incident intelligence is the most effective tool in our industry’s programme to significantly reduce cargo thefts from supply chains.”