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The moderating role of transport chain location in cargo theft risk

Daniel Ekwall (Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden) (Department of Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Björn Lantz (Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg, Sweden)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 18 September 2019

Issue publication date: 18 September 2020




The purpose of this paper is to explore cargo theft risk and security for different product types at different locations along a transport chain.


This study is based on a system-theoretical approach. The research method is deductive, as the analysis is based on secondary data and results from a questionnaire. The results are analysed based on supply chain risk management (SCRM) theories.


Due to substantial interaction effects, the type of product and transport chain location must be considered to determine the correct level of security. Specifically, the product type is more significant, since the general cargo theft risk is higher. Furthermore, the transport industry has three perspectives on security responses to cargo theft, namely, demanded, needed and actual security, which differ depending on the product type and transport chain location.

Research limitations/implications

This database is structured according to the global Transported Asset Protection Association organisational structure, which implies that there are three main databases: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific.

Practical implications

This study has both research and practical implications, as it examines security within freight transport from three perspectives, linked to general cargo theft risk and goods owners’ requirements.


This study addresses the contemporary SCRM problem of cargo theft using actual crime statistics and the industry understanding of required generic security levels.



The authors thank TAPA EMEA ( for allowing using the data in the IIS database for this research, and the participants at the TAPA EMEA conference for providing their views on cargo theft. The authors are named alphabetically and answer equally to all matters within this paper.


Ekwall, D. and Lantz, B. (2020), "The moderating role of transport chain location in cargo theft risk", The TQM Journal, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 1003-1019.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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