Cargo theft: Rising to the challenge

By Hendrike Kühl, Policy Director, IUMI

Cargo crime is a global issue which must be tackled across all continents and takes different shapes and forms in different parts of the world. The issue has heightened in recent years due to criminals becoming more organised and international in their reach, with new and more sophisticated methods. Accordingly “cargo theft” is now permanently high on IUMI’s agenda, and a position paper on the topic was published last year highlighting members concerns and recommending measures to combat such crimes ( The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) EMEA is a partner on this important issue, sharing IUMI’s strong focus on preventing cargo theft. TAPA and IUMI sealed a formal cooperation and became mutual affiliates earlier this year.

Mark Gruentjes, TAPA EMEA board member, emphasised in his remarks at IUMI’s annual conference in Genova that the true cost of losses due to cargo theft far exceeded the financial cost of the goods themselves. This, he said, was as a consequence of disrupted supply chains, reputational damage, and higher insurance premiums. Mark highlighted the difficulties faced in assessing the actual size of the problem, due to a lack of reliable and complete data as many losses are not being reported. Moreover, law enforcement agencies do not necessarily have specific categories to classify cargo theft and the collection of data is often fragmented within countries.

IUMI recently had the opportunity to discuss this and other challenges related to the supply chain with Carlos Mestre Zamarreno, Head of Transport Security Unit at DG Move in the European Commission, a contact which had been established thanks to TAPA EMEA. As a result of this initial meeting, IUMI has since become a member of the Stakeholders Advisory Group on Maritime Security in which organisations representing sectors of the maritime industry have an opportunity to provide updates and input on current issues relevant to the industry.

To expand IUMI’s partnership with TAPA, David Taylor, chairman of IUMI’s Loss Prevention Committee, spoke at TAPA’s annual conference and outlined the opportunities for further cooperation. David noted that closer collaboration and direct exchanges between insurers and TAPA members would allow better insights into supply chain operations. This in turn would better advise insurers enabling them to make better informed pricing and more accurate coverage decisions on risks associated with the supply chain. The TAPA conference agenda included topics of common concern such as secure parking spaces and exposure of the supply chain to cyber threats. One outcome of the conference, on which all participants agreed, concerned the rise in the number and the variety of threats to the supply chain and the urgent need for all parties to respond to this challenge by collaborating with like-minded organisations.