I interviewed Daniel Ekwall who discussed The Displacement Effect in Cargo Theft.





It's good to speak with you again, Daniel. And today this is going to be another interesting topic, the displacement effect in cargo theft.


Yeah, thank you Dustin, it's always nice to discuss these things. As a scholar, you're always interested in discussing your research results. So it's nice.


Yeah and my first question is, why does cargo theft continue to occur in the transport network despite all implemented counter measures?


The answer to that lies outside the logistics sector or the supply sector. Because we are producing desirable items, that's what we want to produce because that means that we can sell them. The problem comes if you can't sell them, someone would like to steal them. So we can't really solve the problem without people wanting our good without, if you stop producing goods the people want, then they won't steal it. But that creates a bigger problem. So we will continue having these problems regardless of what we're doing. What we can address is the size of the problem and where it occurs and how it occurs, and hopefully getting down to it, these are what we can withstand from a society point of view and also from a company economical point of view that this is an acceptable level. To reduce it either further would cost too much or something like that. So it continues to occur as long as we have various desirable objects.


Can you talk about what are the implications of this?


The implications of this is quite simple. If you're let's say that you're the top brand of something. This example we can use mobile phones because that's a very desirable product. And you launch a new model of your mobile phone, whatever company. You will want people to have that phone, want to buy it, but the criminals understand that you're marketing it, you want to make sure that the market wants it. Which means that they can also supply the market by stealing from you. So that's one of the implications for it. So that's sometimes the code for black goods, for the marketing which leads to crimes. On the other hand if we know this, we could increase the secured efforts temporarily before the launch of a product. In order to make sure that it sells through the proper channels, everything legal with the brand owner, earning as much money as they were planning to earn from the beginning. And you can see the other way around, your lost mobile phone, whatever company you have, just before you launched a new one will have a dramatic drop in the brand because everyone knows there's coming a new one. So you can in that sense argue also for a reduction in security, but I wouldn't recommend that because then we would really make it relative and that is not really how we reduce it in the grand scale.


Examples in dealing with cargo theft.


The most prominent example is high valued goods, especially home electronics and actually from that region we have the top initiative. Which is, comes from high value technology assets from the beginning. They are realizing the manufacturer of these products, they realize in the 90s that the transport chain was the really weak link when it comes to protection. So they formed an association, there's now three of us. One in the America's, one in midlist and Africa, and one in Asia. And from that they formulated a number of standardized security settings, especially for terminals but later on even for trucks. So they're looking into what is actually a decent security level. This is a good example because it's structured. These security standards are publicly available. So you and I can just go into any website and download the latest requirement, and then by seeing in detail, what they consider to be elements that builds up a good security around a terminal building. What is interesting is that this is standardized, it doesn't really take into account the local threats. Which means that in some places in the world, the top level for a building will be too high. The only thing that comes out of that is maybe a little bit higher cost for implementing that and with standing it, which means nothing more or less. The problem comes in other places where the top a level, even if it's good security, it will be too soft, it's weak. So you need additional. Every standardized systems that takes place in the relative surroundings has this problem. So this is no surprise. The question comes always, where we make the standard settings in such a way that it's good from a security point of view without being too costly for all the involved partners. That's the trick.


And my last question, which maybe I should have asked first, is how do you define the displacement effect in cargo theft? How would you summarize?


The summary of that is the dynamics of cargo theft. If you increase security in one area or one becomes less desirable, you can have unwanted effects in some other area. For instance, if you increase security way too much, in this certain area, a certain type of crime will seize to occur. But you will probably hear another type of crime coming up. One good example in the grander scale of this is the introduction of the internet because it has opened up a bunch of new types of crimes that we couldn't think of just before the 90s because you couldn't do them without the internet. So that's also displacement effect, it changes places, it changes how it's done, which means that the preventative effects need to be done as well and follow how they change. Sometimes traditional thieves realize we can’t do this anymore because they get caught. But they stop doing this and then other persons realize, whoa here's the security rep, we can use this. Which means that security can never be stated in a bigger area. You always need to address common future problems. And in cargo theft sadly, I think the trend is going towards more violent thefts and maybe more fraud thefts. But that's only a guess I can make from reasons, you never really know how it ends up in the long run.


Well thank you Daniel, for sharing today on this topic.


Thank you very much. You can always read my papers and find more details and of course, I would be happy to answer all questions in email.


Thank you.


Thank you very much.



About Daniel Ekwall



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Daniel Ekwall

Associate Professor In Supply Chain Management at Hanken

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