Transport and Security

The sea and air transport of conflict-sensitive, destabilizing or illicit commodity flows


Transport and security at SIPRI focuses on the sea and air transport of conflict-sensitive, destabilizing or illicit commodity flows such as military equipment, dual use (WMD) goods, narcotics as well as smuggling activities relating to tobacco, oil and counterfeit goods.

Sea and air transport projects maintain databases dedicated to illicit trafficking and destabilizing commodity flows reporting, safety and environmental correlations, as well as piracy and illegal, unreported or undocumented fishing (IUU).

These activities are combined with field and action-orientated research to provide data, field studies, analysis and policy options for governments, industry and civil society.

Transport and security initiatives are centred around earlier work undertaken by SIPRI's Countering Illicit Trafficking – Mechanism Assessment Projects (CIT-MAP) involving research, training and outreach activities.

Products include software, field and HQ-based training, manuals, expert seminars, open source intelligence (OSI) collaborative information-sharing models and an internet-based clearinghouse serving the global humanitarian aid and peace support communities.

Current and past donors include the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Defence, the Swedish International Development & Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO) and the European Union (EU) and the MacArthur Foundation.


Engaging Transport Service Providers (TSPs) as Counter-Proliferation Partners

The project brings together public and private sector stakeholders to explore the challenges, risks, opportunities, and good practice associated with engaging transport service providers (maritime carriers, freight forwarders, fast parcel operators, port operators, etc.) as counter-proliferation partners.

It focuses on the mutual benefits these partnerships can have on the effective implementation of proliferation-related United Nations Security Council resolutions, strategic trade controls, and to mitigate the wider proliferation risks encountered by TSPs.

In doing so the project will explore a range of key issues including: national and international legal environments; the sharing and use of data; and the identification and interdiction of consignments of proliferation concern.

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CIT-MAP projects

EU Council Decision

SIPRI is implementing EU Council Decision projects under the authority of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. 

The projects will strengthen the ability of UN, EU, AU and OSCE member states, agencies, committees and crisis response missions to monitor the activities of air cargo companies involved in the illicit trafficking of SALW via air.

EU Council Decision projects, read more>>


EthicalCargo is an information clearinghouse, training and outreach project serving the global humanitarian aid, crisis response and peace support communities. 

It provides tools, training and advice to encourage the adoption of conflict-sensitive logistics guidelines and ethical transportation policies. 

EthicalCargo, read more>>

Thematic Areas

Air Transportation

Air transport plays a central role in the transfer of destabilizing commodities in a variety of conflicts or fragile states in Africa and South America. 

Research undertaken at SIPRI in the field of air transportation shows that enhanced regulation and monitoring of airspace and cargo companies is a key element for improving security in a number of regions and conflict zones.

Air Transportation, read more>>


Maritime Transportation

Maritime transport accounts for at least 80% of global trade and includes significant quantities of potentially destabilizing commodities such as weapons, narcotics ammunition and other hazardous materials. 

The monitoring and control as well as the protection of maritime actors is complicated by the trans-national nature of the global shipping industry, flags of convenience and the emergence of non-state actor threats such as piracy. 

At a time when naval forces are being reduced due to budget cuts imposed as a result of the financial crisis, CIT-MAP maritime transportation research on destabilizing commodity flows focuses on three key areas.

Maritime transportation, read more>>