Terrorist attacks increase the cost of moving goods © PA Images
Terrorist attacks increase the cost of moving goods © PA Images

Supply chain terrorism 'here for decades to come'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
30 August 2017

Terrorist attacks on supply chains have increased 16% year-on-year, according to the BSI.

The number of attacks hit 346 in 2016, while over the past 10 years an average of 3.1 have taken place each week. Incidents have included attacks on oil infrastructure, hijacking, cargo theft, contraband smuggling, extortion and kidnapping.

“This causes considerable direct and indirect economic costs, disrupts the international movement of freight and creates reputational risks to organisations,” said BSI.

Over the past decade supply chains have been attacked in 58 countries, with Colombia, India and Turkey forming hotspots.

Terrorism related to the Syrian conflict forced Lebanese officials to reroute $1bn worth of exports, resulting in a $754m revenue loss for the Jordanian trucking industry, said BSI.

Increased security measures as a result of attacks impose indirect costs on international trade and supply chains by disrupting the flow of cargo, particularly across borders, slowing the movement of freight and increasing shipping costs.

Stricter border controls with Belgium and Luxembourg after the Paris attack in November 2015 cost companies an additional $59 per delayed vehicle. The estimated total cost to Belgium shippers was $3.5m in the first month after the attack.

In 2016 BSI said terrorists targeted a wider range of industries and modes of transport than in any other year. Attacks have risen against agriculture and food, industrial and manufacturing materials, pharmaceuticals and the metals industry.

David Fairnie, principal consultant, supply chain security at BSI, said: “The direct impact from acts of terrorism and the indirect effects from terrorist organisations’ exploitation of the supply chain have been, and will continue to be, critically felt across Europe.

“Terrorist attacks in major cities and against key transportation nodes in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands have triggered heightened security levels and emergency border controls across the continent, leading to significant commercial impact on our client’s businesses. 

“I believe supply chain terrorism will continue to significantly impact Europe for decades to come.”

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