Insurers Demand More is Done to Combat Cargo Crime

Marine insurers have been told more has to be done to combat the surging levels of cargo crime.

Speaking at the IUMI (the International Union of Marine Insurance) annual conference in Toronto, Helle Hammer (pic) Chair of the organisation’s Policy Forum said the view that this was simply a “victimless crime” was far from the truth.

Her comments came as IUMI published a revision of its position paper containing recommendations aimed at improving the prevention of cargo theft and countering its growth across the world.

It said cargo crime has reached “alarming proportions”, and IUMI urged further steps to better facilitate the safe and secure flow of goods within the global supply chain and minimise risk. In particular, it wants to see greater effort by law enforcement agencies to increase transnational cooperation to combat cargo theft must be further enhanced.  

A study conducted in Germany in 2018, estimated the direct losses caused by cargo theft from trucks to be EUR 1.3 billion with an additional EUR 900 million due to penalties for delays in delivery, repair costs as well as lost sales and business interruption.

In 2008, an EU/Europol study, based on Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) figures, estimated that the economic damage of cargo theft in Europe alone amounts to EUR 8.2 billion per year. Even though there are no similar official studies in other areas of the world, IUMI said that cargo thefts have a similar negative impact across all these continents.

“These are no small numbers, and a more updated and better overview is needed for relevant authorities to decide on further actions in their respective country or region,” it added.

Ms Hammer said: “Unfortunately, cargo theft continues to surge, and it is having a negative impact on supply chains and economies around the world. We are calling for improved preventative measures to be put in place. Cargo crimes are a large burden to society as the costs caused by stolen cargo, business interruption and loss of reputation do not simply disappear but are factored into the pricing of the products which are moved around the globe every minute of every day.”

“Cargo theft is often portrayed as a victimless crime,” she added. “It is important to remember that cargo theft is not only a financial consideration but is also putting at risk the safety of the people working in the transport sector. Protecting their safety is vital.”

IUMI’s position paper includes a number of recommendations that it believes will help prevent cargo theft. These include the continuation of exchange of best practice across borders on local initiatives; establishing a dedicated cargo theft taskforce; training with a focus on cargo theft awareness and prevention; and enhanced due diligence by shippers, logistics/transportation companies when selecting agents and staff.