Hurricane Irene Supply Chain Roundup
With billions of dollars worth of damage done, Hurricane Irene did its worst to batter the major metropolitan areas of the East Coast, but what are some of the supply chain impacts?
Below are some of the major supply chain implications surrounding one of the worst hurricanes to hit the eastern seaboard in recorded history.
- As of Monday, more than 12,000 flights have been cancelled, with airports in Washington D.C., New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston seeing the bulk of the cancellations.
HURRICANE IRENE FOOTAGE FROM THE BAHAMAS
- Delta Airlines cancelled 13 percent of its system-wide flight schedule between Saturday and Monday, with US Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways seeing major disruption as well.
- Air freight was disrupted throughout North America, but we won’t know more about Hurricane Irene’s damage there until later this week. Most airports had reopened as of Monday morning.
- Amtrak lines throughout the Northeast were stopped in anticipation of the storm, but commuter rail lines will likely be disrupted throughout this week as heavy flooding between Washington D.C. and Boston subsides.
- Specific commuter rail lines disrupted included DC’s Acela Express, Philadelphia’s SEPTA trains, New Jersey PATH trains (expected to resume at some point on Monday) and Long Island Railroad service.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES ON THE SUPPLY CHAIN DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
- Interstate 95, a major, East Coast artery that runs along the Atlantic coast from Miami all the way up the coast to Washington DC, Baltimore, New York and Boston, is mostly clear at this point, which should have a minimal impact on freight trucking along the eastern seaboard.
IRENE MAKES LANDFALL IN NORTH CAROLINA
- The major road affected in the storm is the New York Thruway, which has a 100-mile northbound stretch closed upstate. Major cities that could be affected include Montreal, Syracuse and Albany.
- Sea ports were closed throughout the weekend in anticipation of the storm, with most container ships riding out the stormy conditions caused by Hurricane Irene at sea. Most major ports in areas like Boston, New York and Baltimore started reopening Sunday night.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.