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08-06-2020 | Issue 1-2/2020 Open Access

Journal of Transportation Security 1-2/2020

Fuel theft in road freight transport: understanding magnitude and impacts of anti-theft devices

Journal of Transportation Security > Issue 1-2/2020
Luca Urciuoli
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Fuel is one of the most important cost items that road carriers include in their freight rates. It has been demonstrated that unexpected changes of fuel costs influence mobility, logistics performance and profit margins. Experts believe that criminal organizations are targeting the transport sector to steal, smuggle and contraband diesel fuel. Today, very little data exist across the scientific community, depicting this phenomenon. Hence, the goal of this study is to shed light on the problem of diesel theft in freight transport, with a focus on determining its magnitude, its geographical displacement, main modus operandi, and potential impact of protective measures. A survey is developed and used to collect data from members of the Swedish Association of Road Transport companies. Replies from 189 companies are collected (18.9% response rate) and analyzed. Overall, this study unveils that about 150,225 l of fuels have been stolen from Swedish road carriers. In addition, data reveals that only a minority of these companies are affected by the problem, opening the hypothesis that attacks are geographically concentrated in areas where transport/logistics operations are intense. Several devices are available today to avoid fuel theft. Among those, tank gauging and radar-based technologies are preferred by companies, in view of their deterring effects.
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