TAPA 2024

TAPA T1 National Cargo Theft Summit Takeaways

The recent T1 National Cargo Theft Summit, organized by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), brought together industry leaders in supply chain, logistics, insurance, government, and law enforcement officials to address the growing threat of cargo theft. As participants engaged in discussions and shared insights, several key takeaways emerged, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, education, and support for law enforcement efforts.


Partnerships and People – Partnerships emerged as a resounding message from the summit, highlighting the strength inherent in partnerships and collaboration across the industry. Cargo thieves often exploit vulnerabilities in supply chains, but by using the collective power of industry partnerships, companies can enhance their resilience against theft incidents. The summit highlighted the need to continue fostering these relationships and to actively share information and resources to stay ahead of evolving threats.


Education and Intelligence – Education was discussed as another crucial weapon in the fight against cargo theft. With awareness and knowledge comes the ability to implement best practices and raise industry standards. By educating stakeholders about the latest trends, tactics, and preventive measures, organizations can better equip themselves to mitigate risks and protect their assets. The summit underscored the ongoing importance of investing in education initiatives to empower individuals and organizations across the supply chain.


Report Thefts ASAP – Reporting thefts to law enforcement was emphasized as a call to action from the industry. Nothing can be done without theft incidents being reported, and the more information provided, the better. Compliance is key, ensuring that all documentation is correct, inventory lists are accurate, and BOLs are reliable. The summit also emphasized the indispensable role of law enforcement in combating cargo theft. While law enforcement agencies are committed to addressing this challenge, they rely on support and cooperation from the private sector. This includes timely reporting of theft incidents, sharing of relevant information for investigations, and collaboration in recovery efforts. By strengthening ties between industry and law enforcement, stakeholders can enhance the effectiveness of enforcement actions and improve the chances of recovering stolen goods.

However, it was noted that law enforcement resources dedicated to cargo theft investigations are limited, even as theft activity continues to rise. Addressing this imbalance requires a collective effort from all stakeholders. By working together, sharing intelligence, and supporting law enforcement initiatives, the industry can help alleviate the burden on law enforcement agencies and contribute to a more robust response to cargo theft.


Prevention and Mitigation – The industry needs organizations to select logistics service providers who adhere to security standards and protocols. Additionally, proper carrier vetting is a crucial aspect of theft mitigation strategies. Conducting risk assessments and vetting stakeholders from the outset helps prevent downstream issues, easing law enforcement pressures and deterring criminals, thus increasing the difficulty for them to succeed. Given the limited law enforcement resources, this must be a focal point for the industry.


Getting the Basics Right

At the TAPA Carrier Vetting panel, the panel emphasized the importance of establishing proper security procedures, rather than resorting to a reactive approach such as relying on insurance or law enforcement to handle the aftermath of a theft. Law enforcement stressed the significance of obtaining accurate information, selecting the right logistics service provider, and ensuring they adhere to quality standard operating procedures to prevent issues from arising initially. Although the panel offered practical examples of implementing these practices, law enforcement’s main message was to reduce downstream impact by adhering to security standards. They emphasized that many cargo crimes could be prevented by following this approach. DeSpir Logistics was recognized for prioritizing proper security procedures.

DeSpir Logistics was highlighted for their rigorous carrier vetting process, making sure carriers meet strict global standards such as TAPA and Good Distribution Practices for Pharmaceuticals. From the initial risk assessment, DeSpir protects cargo by focusing on the basics: trained operations teams, trained drivers, high-quality equipment, real-time risk mitigation, best-in-class physical security, and security escorts when required. Founder Ron Devitt of DeSpir brought attention to the increase in cargo theft, often attributed to a lack of following security standards. DeSpir’s focus on security, quality, and compliance ensures that their customers do not experience the same issues faced by other providers.

In conclusion, the T1 National Cargo Theft Summit provided valuable insights into the complex challenges posed by cargo theft and highlighted the importance of collaboration, education, and support for law enforcement. Moving forward, it is imperative for stakeholders to build upon these insights and take proactive measures to strengthen supply chain security and resilience against theft incidents. Only through unified action can the industry effectively combat the threat of cargo theft and safeguard its assets and operations.