Battered supply chains put food and drink at highest theft risk | News

Food and beverage theft increased last year as battered supply chains became more vulnerable to crime, according to a new report.

A report from the British Standards Institute (BSI) reveals that the industry is more exposed to crime due to soaring inflation and global supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine and the remaining effects of the pandemic. became.

According to BSI’s Supply Chain Risk Insights report, food and beverages were the most stolen commodities globally, with a “substantial” 2.8% increase in the volume of stolen goods in 2022.

This is because supply chain instability has opened the floodgates for “opportunistic crime,” said Jim Yarbrough, Global Intelligence Program Manager at BSI. “Every time a shipment is out of place or out of schedule, there can be more theft.

“Cargo is traveling long journeys across continents and may land at ports and border crossings, but when things aren’t being processed at normal speed, it’s easier for criminals.”

The food and beverage industry had the highest rate of increase in theft compared to other sectors, accounting for 17% of stolen goods annually, followed by fuel at 9%.

Record-high inflation is also contributing to the increase in theft, Yarbrough said.

Last year, olive oil producer Filippo Berio reported the biggest UK stock theft in a decade after £5,000 worth of olive oil was stolen from a distribution vehicle in Doncaster when a driver parked it overnight. British MD Walter Zanle called the crime “a sign of the times”.

According to the BSI, other recent examples include rising cases of egg theft and smuggling due to shortages across Europe, and after grain prices soared when supplies stopped following the Ukrainian invasion. It includes a surge in wheat cargo.

Theft from facilities was the most common type of cargo crime, with 26% of incidents reported last year. Hijacking accounted for 17% and theft from containers/trailers he accounted for 12.8%.

Criminals also identified and targeted weaker supply channels when retailers and brands had to establish new partnerships to ensure inventory at the peak of last year’s supply chain crisis, the report said. Yarbrough said.

“Supply chain security is a tough business, costly and requires a customized approach, so we need to work closely with our suppliers to improve security.

“Working with new suppliers and logistics companies creates more vulnerabilities and more targets for criminals.”

READ MORE: Gasoline price hike drives 215% increase in reports of fuel theft

Further woes of labor shortages and industrial action also proved to be a particularly troubling combination for logistics businesses.

Pointing to ports such as Felixstowe and European airports such as London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Yarbrough said, “When cargo piles up and there are not enough truck drivers to carry the goods, there is an overflow. The region is particularly vulnerable,” he said.

Just last year, Suffolk Police urged food businesses to assess their security measures regarding the storage of cooking oil as an organized group was targeting facilities to steal cooking oil and convert it to biodiesel. rice field.

Louise Manning, professor of sustainable agro-food systems at the University of Lincoln, warned that food traffickers are “entrepreneurial and make huge sums of money.”

“As soon as one activity becomes more deterrent, they switch to another. Some supply chains are more vulnerable than others, and we definitely need mechanisms in place to mitigate that. I have.”

BSI CEO Susan Taylor-Martin has warned governments and businesses about the importance of managing supply chain risks after “the last 12 months of turmoil.”

“In 2022, we have seen more volatility in global supply chains than many expected in their lifetimes.

“The series of crises, including the global pandemic that followed the war in Europe, has brought continued uncertainty on many fronts and has shown governments the benefits of ensuring robust global supply chains.

“2023 will be a watershed moment for many organizations. If they manage their supply chain risks well, they are more likely to succeed.”

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