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How can you Mitigate Disruptions in Transporting your Cargo

It is true that no supply chain is immune from disruptions; however, there are steps you can take to mitigate disruptions in transporting your cargo and minimize the impact to your business.

The potential ripple effects caused by disruptions in the transport of your goods are greater the more connected global supply chains and the economies that support them become. Whether it is a hurricane or other natural disaster, labor unrest, or even trade disputes, the movement of your cargo will likely be disrupted or delayed at some point. It is true that no supply chain is immune from these disruptions; however, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks and minimize the impact to your business. In this article, we discuss different events that could disrupt the transport of your cargo and how you can prepare for them. How to mitigate risks in transporting your cargo

Natural Events

Mother Nature can be harsh and it’s true some weather events can be predicted and prepared for in advance. However, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, blizzards and even earthquakes are just some of the natural events that can impact your shipments. In the event of seasonal delays, your risk can be mitigated by keeping your options open. Diversify your transport as much as possible by using alternate carriers and even switching modes, from ocean to air and ground to provide the flexibility needed to weather the storm.

Man-made Events

Remember the painful lessons of Hanjins’ bankruptcy and the costly delays many shippers experienced first- hand? Man-made events occur for political or economic reasons and they include the malicious actions of individuals or groups, labor issues and all types of governmental actions.

Cyber-attacks continue to evolve in frequency and sophistication. In June of 2017 Maersk was just one company affected by a ransomware attack that originated in the Ukraine and spread internationally. As shipping and transportation industries adapt new technologies and become more connected digitally, the threat of cyber disruptions is real. In fact, International Data Corporation predicts, “By the end of 2019, cyber security will have surpassed physical security as a top concern for one-half of all manufacturers, and in the transition to digitally enabled, cognitive supply chains, cyber security will have become a top investment priority.”. The threat of a cyber-attack can be difficult to predict and even tougher to prevent. More key supply chain components are occurring in the cloud, and the importance of reducing risk through tighter digital security becomes even greater.

Fortunately, labor disputes do not usually happen without warning. These events typically occur after or during negotiations between the parties involved. Pay attention to the political situation in the countries your suppliers are located. Keep up with local and national news sources so you have as much advance warning as possible for things like labor strikes or even rioting due to political unrest.

 Government actions cover a wide range of potential issues. Consider the effects of the ELD Mandate on US trucking capacity, or more recently, new tariffs for steel and aluminum imports. These are both examples of actions taken by the US government that affect the movement of goods in one way or another. Actions by foreign governments can be just as serious. In October of 2017, the Chinese government shut down an estimated 40 percent of all factories in an unprecedented crackdown on pollution; a move that resulted in late or missed orders for many US importers.

Both natural and man-made events cover a wide range of potential threats - too many to for us to list here. Whenever possible, book shipments in advance of potentially disruptive events and have a contingency plan in place that includes alternative methods of transportation.

Plan to collaborate and be flexible

Because it is important, it bears repeating. Have a plan in place to manage potential threats. That contingency plan should include alternate transportation options. Engage a logistics partner you can count on and collaborate when things are going smoothly. It can make all the difference in times of crisis.

Insure your cargo against loss or damage. This may sound like an obvious suggestion, but not all beneficial cargo owners opt to insure their cargo. Talk to your forwarding partner when you book your shipments to make sure you are covered.

Finally, be flexible and resilient. The potential for interruptions to the smooth transport of your goods is real and it really is amazing it does not happen more often. Especially when you stop to think about the millions of containers and shipments of all types in motion around the globe at any given time. Contingency plans that allow for flexibility can help ensure your shipments and your business keeps moving forward.

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