Cargo crime hits €1m per day

cargo crime

Almost a million euros’ worth of cargo is stolen every 24 hours across supply chains in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). These figures come from new research covering 61 countries by international security organization Tapa.

The total losses from cargo crime amounted to €178.8 million in the first half of 2023. South Africa had the highest number of incidents during that period, with 5,416 reports of theft, followed by the United Kingdom with 3,003 cases. Germany ranks third for cargo crime, with 1,284 reported incidents.

In four other countries in the EMEA region, the number of reported cases ran into the triple digits: France (590), Italy (453), Sweden (386) and Spain (357).

Largest cargo heist in the UK

The largest cargo heist occurred in Berkshire, the United Kingdom, on 29 March, when criminals made off with €53 million in cash. Other major incidents included the theft of more than 7,000 tonnes of wheat, worth €17.5 million, in Tigray, Ethiopia, and the theft of an unspecified cargo valued at €2.8 million from a vehicle in Novaya Chara, Russia, on 22 February.

Sharp rise in inflation

Tapa recorded a total of 184 major cargo crimes in the period from 1 January to 30 June this year, with an average cost of €843,878. Tapa mainly attributes the growth of cargo crime to the sharp rise in inflation, as a result of which consumers are increasingly turning to the black market. This echoes the international security organization’s earlier claim, back in 2022, that the financial pressures currently experienced by many consumers are driving the upward trend in thefts.