By Simon Mitchell
CONSIDER the following:
* 2007 – European Parliament assessed that the annual cost of cargo theft in the European Union was ?8.2 billion
* 2013 – FreightWatch International revised this to ?11.6 billion. This does not include thefts from warehouse and other transit facilities
* 2015/2016 – Transport Asset Protection Association statistics identified the United Kingdom as a hot spot, accounting for as much as 40 per cent of cargo crime incidents in the EU
* 2017 – the Q3 Security Network Risk Evaluation Network Cargo Theft Report* shows Northamptonshire as the worst place in the UK for cargo theft, accounting for 17.6 per cent of incidents recorded
Could this really mean a total cost of cargo theft within Northamptonshire of as much as £800 million?
The SCREEN Cargo Theft Report, mentioned above, identifies hot spots in the county, with highway thieves targeting off-road lay-bys and other insecure parking near the A14, A45, A5 and M1. The areas around Cold Ashby and Watford are mentioned specifically. The most common type of cargo theft reported involved slash and grab, cutting the tarpaulins of soft-sided trailers. Lock cutting to break in to hard sided trailers is also a feature in the county.
On a positive note, there has been a reduction in incidents at motorway service stations compared to previous quarterly reports. It is thought that action by police to maximise security in these areas has reduced the number of incidents, shifting criminal focus towards insecure and easy access locations.
The Cargo and Road Transport Security Guide published by Maple Fleet Services in 2017, accepts that most cargo crime involves organised criminal gangs. A worrying development is the use of cyber crime, a day-to-day reality for all business owners in today’s technologically reliant world. Cyber criminals who access transport databases, can identify vehicle movements, number plates and driver names, using this information to steal goods in transit.
In an article published by the Insurance Post in November 2017 (Analysis: Cargo theft on the rise), this was identified as a very real problem by leading marine insurance underwriters and claims specialists.
One thing is certain, this should concern many businesses in the county, not just haulage and logistics contractors. Standard carriage contracts limit hauliers’ liability for loss of cargo in transit and in store, often leaving their customers out of pocket. Insurance can pick up this shortfall and add additional protection against loss of sales and consequential financial loss.
Simon is a Chartered Insurance Broker with more than 30 years’ experience and a wide range of knowledge about insurance for business. This includes specialist advice about emerging risks such as Cyber-Crime and Terrorism.
* Published in co-ordination with British Standards Institute and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service