South Africa and Nigeria were singled out as the two highest-risk countries in terms of cargo security in the Middle East and Africa region in the second annual cargo theft report compiled by the TT Club and BSI.
According to the report, criminals adapted to the restrictions on the movement of goods and people, as well as the subsequent economic consequences, by diversifying their theft locations, targeting higher-value goods, and employing opportunistic theft methodologies involving corrupt employees.
Three trends emerged in the region last year: thieves targeted facilities and warehouses, in addition to primarily cargo trucks in transit; theft of medical devices and supplies and alcohol and tobacco increased; and insider participation and corruption within the supply chain played a large role in cargo crime.
Theft of goods in transit however remained the top modus operandi, accounting for 60% of cargo theft incidents in 2020. And while metal, fuel, and electronics remained highly targeted commodities last year thieves began to increasingly target medical devices and supplies and alcohol and tobacco products.
The report predicts that the focus on medical supplies is likely to continue, either through cargo theft or counterfeits.
Since corruption plays a large role in cargo crime in South Africa and Nigeria, the report suggests it’s likely that criminals will target Covid-19 vaccine distribution by coercing security guards or bribing police officers.
And while there was a slight swing from primarily in-transit cargo theft incidents in H1 2019 to diversified cargo theft incidents in H1 2020 and back to primarily in-transit cargo theft incidents in Q4 2020, this was largely because companies had goods stockpiled in warehoused due to the lockdowns in Q1. When restrictions were eased, there was a return to the pre-Covid trucks-in-transit trend.
TT Club provides insurance and related risk management services to the international transport and logistics industry while BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions is a global provider of a range of services, including supply chain intelligence.