How to Manage a Supply Chain Network when Catastrophe Strikes

How to Manage a Supply Chain Network when Catastrophe Strikes

Managing a supply chain network when catastrophe strikes is always hectic, but if you have a good logistics software it can lessen the burden. Earlier this week, many of us woke up to news on the morning of Tuesday, March 26, that a massive, modern cargo ship malfunctioned and collided directly with one of the main support pylons of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. An unimaginable catastrophe, with several from a road crew working on the bridge at the time of impact still unaccounted for. What is the fallout from this kind of disaster, and how does it affect local transit and Mid-Atlantic supply chain for the near and foreseeable future?

The Key Bridge has been a major and heavily trafficked transit point since its completion in 1977. Part of Interstate 695, the 1.6-mile-long, continuous truss style bridge spanned the Patapsco River and Baltimore harbor, and was part of the outer ring road around Baltimore known as the "Baltimore Beltway". It carried an estimated 11.5 million vehicles per year. Local experts suggest there will be major disruption to road traffic for months and even years to come, while shipping activity in the port of Baltimore will also be severely affected. Estimates of the economic impact for the Baltimore port are over $1 million for every day the port is closed.

Network disruptions requiring immediate response and restructuring of supply chain networks are not new, especially in the face of recent disruptions like COVID and other natural disasters such as hurricanes, especially affecting East Coast ports. Shippers and ocean freight carriers alike are scrambling to rework supply chains, diverting to other Eastern seaboard ports including New York, Norfolk, and even Savannah. Traffic is forced to divert to alternative routes for commuters and truckers with the added burden that most trucks cannot use the tunnels in and around Baltimore as alternatives.

How do supply chains respond to and accommodate a disaster like this? Users of AI tools such as Network Optimization and Route Planning software, for example, are remodeling their networks in real time to handle this challenge. These tools are being used for same day delivery in dense cities like New York while strictly adhering to traffic restrictions prohibiting transport over certain bridges.

Protect Your Supply Chain Network when Catastrophe Strikes With Logistix Solutions!