BSI reports food and beverage cargo thefts continue to lead in Asia © Zhou Daoxian/VCG via Getty Images
BSI reports food and beverage cargo thefts continue to lead in Asia © Zhou Daoxian/VCG via Getty Images

Supply chains face 'second wave of Covid disruption'

5 August 2020

Supply chains face a secondary wave of disruptions including risks from cargo theft, migration and child labour as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report.

The report, by the BSI (British Standards Institution) revealed that while Covid-19 concerns remained a priority for firms, the pandemic has created “pinch points” in supply chains which are leading to additional threats.

A rise in Covid-19 cases caused lockdowns in major global supply chain hubs, such as Bangladesh and India, and delays to manufacturing, global shipping and sectors such as agriculture, the report said.

It added that “complex and varying responses by individual governments and organisations, have been wreaking havoc on supply chain continuity”.

The BSI identified a significant rise in global cargo thefts from March 2020, including personal protective equipment and medical devices such as ventilators. 

It also found increased thefts of particular goods including cleaning solutions in Mexico, alcohol and tobacco in South America, food and beverage in Asia, and electronics in Africa and the Middle East.

There was also a high rate of incidents involving illegal migrant stowaways in truck and rail cargo as weakened economies in Europe and in the Americas resulted in some migrating in search of work. 

The BSI added there had been a particular increase in labour trafficking in Asia and MENA due to similar economic pressures. It warned this trend could continue as families are forced to consider other means of generating income. 

Jim Yarbrough, global intelligence program manager at BSI, said: “Long-held practices around supply chain resilience have been completely upended.

“As organisations begin the process of rebuilding their supply chains following the Covid-19 pandemic, BSI’s latest data indicates that in addition to the virus, organisations face new and additional threats, underscoring the need for business continuity planning.”

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