Cargo theft 2023: the year of conflicting trends

Cargo theft 2023: the year of conflicting trends
The year 2023 witnessed conflicting trends in cargo theft in the Netherlands and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. While we saw a significant decrease in cargo thefts in the Netherlands, the EMEA region faced an increase. Despite the decrease in incidents in the Netherlands, the average loss value of stolen goods per incident increased dramatically. This is evident from cargo thefts reported to the TAPA EMEA Intelligence System (TIS)*. This shift may indicate a more organized approach to cargo theft by criminals.

Sharp drop in cargo theft in the Netherlands

The Netherlands reported a sharp drop in the number of cargo thefts, with only 162 incidents reported in 2023. This contrasts sharply with the 727 incidents recorded in 2022. Although the number of incidents decreased, the figures indicate a huge increase in the average value of stolen goods. The total loss value was €24,968,440, with a significant increase in the average loss per incident to €554,854. In 2022, this was €167,383.

2022: 727 incidents reported, average loss per incident €167,383.
2023: 162 incidents reported, average loss per incident €554,854.

Increase in cargo theft in EMEA region

The EMEA region experienced a dramatic increase in cargo theft in 2023, with the number of reported incidents rising from 13,413 in 2022 to 159,598 in 2023. The total loss for these incidents reached a staggering €709,272,859, with an average loss per incident of €206,665. This is almost double compared to 2022. This huge increase is mainly due to the overwhelming number of reported incidents in South Africa. These numbered 143,430 in 2023, compared to only 1452 in 2022. Looking at Europe, Germany remains on top with 2498 reported cargo theft incidents in 2023. Followed by France with 1046 incidents and Sweden with 1022 incidents. The Netherlands dropped from second place to sixth.

2022: 13,413 incidents reported, average loss €107,957
2023: 159,598 incidents reported, average loss €206,665

Huge increase in loss value cargo theft

The figures show a huge increase in the loss value of stolen goods in 2023. Looking at this increase, it is fair to say that criminals are no longer content with small loot, but are deliberately picking their targets. They often operate from organized networks, capable of carrying out larger and lucrative cargo thefts. In doing so, they use sophisticated methods to target and track valuable cargo. This includes GPS jamming, hacking of logistics databases and use of social media. This allows them to strike at the weakest point in the link. A good example is an incident at Schiphol Airport, where a large shipment of iPhones was stolen using fake documents and a stolen truck. This led to a significant loss of €17,000,000.

"We have seen a number of very high-profile thefts and losses from supply chains in 2023, where we assume this is mainly the work of organized criminals (OCGs)".

Marcel Saarloos - president TAPA EMEA

Preventing cargo theft

The more organized approach to criminals not only poses greater financial risks for the transport sector, but also requires a reassessment of security protocols and strategies. We have listed some tips to prevent cargo theft for you.

If you want to prevent cargo theft, it is wise anyway to install a certified trailer lock or container lock. If you want to make sure you don't overlook anything, we recommend getting TAPA certified. TAPA certification shows that you have done everything possible to secure your cargo during transport. A TAPA certification ensures demonstrable quality. For more information, contact our specialists.

* Please note that this is the number of cargo thefts reported to TAPA. Not all incidents are reported. So the actual number of cargo thefts may differ.

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