Cargo theft – anything but a victimless crime: Revised IUMI position paper

Hendrike Kühl, IUMI Policy Director has written in the September 2019 edition of IUMI Eye that, throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe, theft of cargo, alone or with the vehicles, had reached “alarming proportions”.

It was a global challenge with a huge negative impact on people and the supply chains they worked in.

Increasingly popular among criminals were more innovative ways of stealing goods which took advantage of constantly growing online connectivity. “Instead of merely targeting a specific truck and its cargo, many criminals now take advantage of more sophisticated methods such as posing as legitimate transportation companies or jamming vehicle tracking systems”, said Kühl.

Although it was often stated that cargo theft was a victimless crime, Kühl said that this was “a major misunderstanding as the truck drivers who are vital enablers of trade are directly threatened by increasing violence related to cargo theft”.

It was also a large burden to society, as the costs caused by stolen cargo, business interruption and loss of reputation did not “simply disappear”. Those costs were factored into the pricing of the products.

IUMI has issued a revised position paper that reflects the urgency with which this issue needs to be addressed.

Closer transnational cooperation between law enforcement agencies across borders was a key component to combat these crimes effectively. The paper outlines several measures to support improved and more effective cross border coordination, and calls for a higher density of high-security, accessible and affordable parking spaces. Recommendations for industry stakeholders provide guidance to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cargo theft aiming to prevent such losses in the first place.

The data reported to TAPA’s (Transported Asset Protection Association) Incident Information System clearly show that cargo theft is on the rise rather than declining. Kühl said that IUMI’s call was “unequivocal”. He said that policy makers around the world needed to tackle this problem by increasing resources for law enforcement agencies, enabling improved transnational cooperation and by the creation of a large number of safe and secure parking spaces.

The paper will be released on September 17th.