Cargo hijackings in South Africa up by 29 per cent

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
posted by Paul Snell
in Risk
16 November 2015

The number of cargo hijackings in South Africa has increased by almost a third in the past 12 months.

The BSI 2015 Security Risk Index, which records security threats and analyses their impact on the supply chain, found attacks were up by 29.1 per cent, rising to a total of 1,279. In addition to the increase, hijacking are also becoming more violent. It recorded 10 security escorts were wounded trying to defend cargo trucks in 12 different attacks.

The study even went as far to say that some of the hijackers were current of former police or security officers, and used sophisticated assault techniques and technology such as GPS jamming.

The report said a link had been identified between slower GDP growth in the country and a rise in attacks. Hijacking dropped to fewer than 800 a year when the economy grew by 3 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Economic growth was 1.5 per cent in 2014.

In addition the index highlighted a trend of “moving truck” thefts in China. These thefts involve thieves leaping onto trucks travelling at 30 to 40 miles per hour, and then throwing stolen goods to accomplices travelling in vehicles alongside. These have taken place in five separate provinces, with high value thefts including $40,000 of leather clothing and $55,000 of medicines.

Jim Yarbrough, global intelligence programme manager, supply chain solution at BSI, said: “Economic volatility and uncertainty in markets such as South Africa and China is creating an ever more serious criminal threat to goods shipments. Highways such as the G45 north of Guangzhou are becoming notorious for ‘kaitianchuang’ thefts, where criminals leap aboard speeding lorries in scenes reminiscent of action movies. Even more violent tactics are seen in South Africa.

“While it is most often high value pharmaceuticals or electronics targeted in these well-planned raids, the trend is moving toward lower value goods. Effective supply chain planning can help firms route around such dangers, and make sure back-up supplies can be swiftly located if the originals are looted,” he added.

BSI’s report also examined the impact of the migration crisis in Europe. Strikes and immigration at Calais are estimated to have cost the UK economy $1 billion. The implementation of border checks between many European nations has also increased costs for logistics providers.

Yarbrough said: “More so than any other economic bloc, Europe relies upon free trade. Every shipment delayed, contaminated or destroyed, raises the cost to the end-consumer. For exports this hurts competitiveness, undermines productivity and risks jobs; for imports it raises the cost of living for each and every citizen.”

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