TERRORISM attacks on global supply chains cost the air cargo and logistics industries billions of dollars and yet, bizarrely, companies are not investing adequately in supply chain security, a major report reveals.

Incidents ranging from aircraft hijackings and cargo theft, to contraband smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and targeting the oil and gas infrastructure, reached their worst levels last year – up by 16 per cent year on year –  according to The British Standards Institution (BSI).

Data contained in a BSI supply chain terrorism report shows such occurrences resulted in considerable direct and indirect economic costs to private companies and national organisations, writes Thelma Etim.

Physical attacks against supply chains include arson, bombings or armed assaults and they directly disrupt the international movement of freight. Tampering with international cargo shipments can also compromise the integrity of the entire load, resulting in the seizure or destruction of goods by Customs authorities, as well as placing businesses’ reputations at risk, the study warns.

“The significantly increased use of intermodal freight in recent decades, while improving logistical efficiency, has increased the average number of ‘touch points’ (at which the custody for a cargo shipment is transferred to a different entity) in a given supply line that can be targeted by hostile actors such as criminals and terrorists,” highlights the report.

The research also shows that increased security measures, whilst aimed at mitigating the risk of attacks, disrupt the typical flow of cargo, especially with regard to cross-border shipments.

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