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Cargo Theft In The Transport Industry

Published 05 Sep 2021

Cargo Theft In The Transport Industry

Cargo Theft In The Transport Industry

Truck and cargo theft is a very important issue. Every year, the EU transport industry suffers millions of euros in damage due to the theft of trucks and/or their cargo. This is not only about the theft of goods, but also about the safety of drivers, who are often threatened or physically attacked.

There is a great danger at rest areas, where drivers are also not infrequently the victims of assault. Therefore, drivers are strongly advised to only drive to safe, guarded parking areas. Furthermore, thefts of fully pre-loaded trucks/trailers/semi-trailers are becoming more frequent - especially at weekends. We advise you to park pre-loaded units on your own (rented) fenced premises.

According to TAPA, Cargo Theft Booms in the Corona Phase


The threat of cargo theft is omnipresent. For the perpetrators, cargo crime is a regular industry, says Thorsten Neumann, CEO and President of the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. The association specialises in supply chain resilience and security and has been dedicated to the issue of cargo theft for more than two decades.

TAPA reports cargo thefts estimated at more than 85 million euros during the first half of 2020, reported to the security organization from 46 countries in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) economic region. Despite, or perhaps because of, the Covid 19 restrictions, crime in this area has continued to increase. Thorsten Neumann, observed that during the Corona period, criminals targeted goods that had been in high demand on the black market more specifically than usual.

Germany Is One of the Hotspots in Europe

In many ways, Germany is perhaps the most attractive country in Europe for cargo theft. Every day, goods worth many billions of euros are moved on German roads. While the rest of Europe is struggling with the ongoing economic crisis, Germany's economy continues to grow and industrial production is high. As a result, the volume of high-value goods shipped throughout Germany, especially by road, has increased. As one of the most important transit countries in the European Union, Germany has recently come under increased scrutiny from criminals who specialise in truck freight.

In the year as a whole, the damage added up to more than 172 million euros, the organisation for transport security, TAPA, mentioned in its annual report. Almost 75 per cent of the offences took place in the hotspots of Germany and the UK.

According to TAPA, about 70 percent of the losses in the supply chain are due to insider knowledge. This means that the information often comes from within the supply chain. For example, in Italy, only three with a particularly high value were stolen from a large warehouse with more than 10,000 pallets. So the perpetrators knew exactly where to look.

The two most stolen products were food and beverages (536 cases) and tobacco (403 cases). In third place was already the theft of trucks and/or trailers with 282 cases. Cargo thieves also targeted sought-after products such as face masks and hand sanitizers. In one crime in Spain alone, two million face masks and protective equipment worth five million euros were stolen from a factory.

For years, criminals mainly targeted high-value, high-tech goods. Today, everything you can imagine is stolen, and in every way too. All branches of industry are now affected. A typical example is a full truck of Parmesan cheese, which is well worth 1 million euros. The market for dried fish from Norway is also huge. Here, the value of goods per truck is 300,000 to 600,000 euros.

The Tricks Of The Perpetrators

Tips For Entrepreneurs

Anything that can somehow be turned into money is stolen and robbed. The criminals' tricks are both simple and ingenious. Especially entrepreneurs in the freight and transport business as well as their employees should therefore be sensitised to the special risks in order to minimise the danger of theft.

Tips For Drivers

Who Is Liable In The Event Of Cargo Theft?

Should you actually become a victim of cargo theft, the question naturally arises as to who is liable for the damage caused. Generally speaking, every transport liability security policy excludes certain goods from cover. The dispatcher must find out which these are in order not to accept corresponding customer orders.

As a rule, the carrier has limited liability, and it is very much the circumstances of the offence that ultimately determine how much compensation is payable. Important factors are:

After taking all these factors into account, a court would decide how much compensation should be paid.