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  December 9th, 2023 | Written by

Disrupting the Supply Chain: TT Club Advocates for Cutting Off the Market for Stolen Goods

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As the logistics industry grapples with the persistent threat of cargo theft, TT Club, a specialist in freight insurance, is proposing a novel approach to tackling the issue—cutting off the market for stolen goods. Beyond the immediate illegality, receiving stolen property not only poses legal risks but also fuels a market for criminals, resulting in lost time, revenue, and reputational damage for rightful owners and the businesses that serve them in transport and storage.

Cargo theft remains a significant concern within the logistics sector, prompting a call for proactive measures from businesses, law enforcement agencies, and the broader economy. To understand the intricate workings of criminal networks, it is essential to delve into what happens to stolen goods once they enter the criminal ecosystem. Criminal networks often adopt similar business strategies to legitimate supply chain operators, leading to instances of large warehouses housing stolen goods, trucking operations facilitating their movement, and stolen items entering the retail market.

Mike Yarwood, Managing Director of Loss Prevention at TT, underscores the importance of disrupting this market for stolen goods. He shares an illustrative example of two containers of BBQ equipment stolen from a UK depot, which were later identified in another retail store by the original owner. This case highlights the ready market accessible to thieves when unwitting receivers fail to ensure the legitimacy of the goods they purchase.

TT advocates for increased vigilance and offers preventative advice to procurement managers, including:

1. Forming strong, ongoing partnerships with trusted suppliers and rigorously vetting new suppliers.
2. Implementing a code of conduct that explicitly prohibits unethical and illegal procurement practices, with whistleblower protection.
3. Verifying the provenance of all goods through proper documentation, such as bills of sale, invoices, and shipping records.
4. Conducting regular audits by external parties, particularly stringent due diligence for high-risk goods like electronics or luxury items.
5. Immediately engaging with law enforcement if suspected stolen goods are identified.

Yarwood emphasizes the broader impact of theft, including the costs beyond the value of stolen goods, such as wasted resources, survey costs, reputational damage, and increased insurance premiums for all participants.

Moreover, the ripple effect extends to society at large, with the funding of criminal organizations leading to increased freight crime and other illicit activities. TT Club urges all supply chain participants to prioritize efforts to stop or at least reduce market outlets for the proceeds of theft, emphasizing the collective responsibility in curbing criminal activities in the industry.