The COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of lockdowns and a decline in the economy has only intensified South Africa’s vulnerability to cargo theft, a report by TT Club and BSI has found.
South Africa ranks among the top countries in the world, and the first on the African continent, for BSI’s forecasted losses due to cargo theft.
Johannesburg and the surrounding province remain the chief region at risk from cargo theft.
The economic decline, combined with the changes brought about by restrictive lockdown procedures, has left the freight sector in a vulnerable situation.
Traditionally, South Africa is an environment characterised by cargo truck hijackings and cross-border truck congestion and slower freight clearance created secondary disruptions that has left cargo even more susceptible to theft.
BSI and TT Club’s research from 2019 and 2020 found that thefts from facilities increased during the first half of 2020, an uptick in incidents of cargo theft occurred in Eastern Cape and Western Cape between the first two quarters and thefts of food and beverage and medical supplies increased in the second quarter.
The two organisations have emphasised that the understanding of cargo theft risk plays a big part in mitigating both the occurrence and impact of these incidents on stakeholders’ organisations and is crucial in building a truly resilient supply chain.
TT Club’s loss prevention managing director Mike Yarwood said: “As cargo theft continues to impact business operations and disrupt supply chains in South Africa and elsewhere, it is vital that companies stay on top of potential threats and risks.
“Security awareness and proactive risk management actions are essential steps in creating a risk-averse supply chain. In highlighting casual influences this report also points the way to how preventative measures can, and must, be introduced and enhanced to reverse the damaging trends.”
David Fairnie, BSI principal consultant for supply chain security, added: “Understanding the threats in South Africa, detailed in this report, and incorporating the suggested preventative measures including screening employees, implementing security management systems and securing parking depots, will help organisations work towards developing more secure and resilient supply chains.”