Homeland Security announces supply chain crisis plan
President Obama has signed into law an initiative to secure the supply chain Americans depend on for fundamentals in the event of a terrorist disruption.
"When the unknown occurs, you have no time," said U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in a speech at the World Economic Forum.
Secretary Napolitano cited a 2010 incident in which an al-Qaeda plot was discovered to send explosives into the U.S. via cargo planes carrying printer cartridges as a wake-up call.
"That really brought to the forefront of my own recognition that we need to have a sense of urgency about the importance of the global supply chain,'' she said.
The provisions of the new legislation will allow government agencies to stock food, fuel, and other essentials in the event of a crisis, among other measures.
President Obama had recently addressed concerns about the security of the global supply chain in a letter dated January 23rd and later released by the White House.
“We have seen that disruptions to supply chains caused by natural disasters -- earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions -- and from criminal and terrorist networks seeking to exploit the system or use it as a means of attack can adversely impact global economic growth and productivity,” the President wrote.
“As a nation, we must address the challenges posed by these threats and strengthen our national and international policies accordingly.”
Americans need not look any further than the still-gaping wound in the heart of a great American city to discern the need for risk management of the supply chain. The caught-with-our-pants-down response to Hurricane Katrina, one that exacerbated an already wrenching crisis, cast a harsh light on the reality of the unexpected – and the need to be prepared.
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Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.