May 17, 2020

The Needy Green: Renewables Pressure the Supply Chain

supply chain news
Supply Chain
Green Supply Chain
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Freddie Pierce
2 min
Is there a future for green energy in the supply chain, beyond government incentives?
It seems the grass is greener on the other side of…time. Aggressive sustainability tactics may be the future of the supply chain industry, as ma...

It seems the grass is greener on the other side of…time.  Aggressive sustainability tactics may be the future of the supply chain industry, as many green energy measures are picking up momentum, and revolutionizing the industry’s energy buying tendencies in possibly drastic ways.  

Typically, renewables have not found success outside of federal incentives. Supply Chain companies, for the most part, do not take the measures to invest in green energy because thus far the investment costs have not demonstrated quantifiable improvement in relation to traditional fuels.

However the rising cost of gas has supply chain managers willing to take new measures to reduce the fiscal toll oil has on the transportation of their goods. In addition, global environmental concerns have created a flurry of demands including new regulations, shareholder pressures and public opinions which could push the entire supply chain industry to adopt greener measures.

Overall the lower prices of natural gas are an attractive alternative to burdensome oil costs, but some measures need to be taken on the part of renewable companies to better accommodate the pricing needs of supply chain managers.   


Return of the Policies

Canadian Pacific Logistics Boosts Energy Supply Chain

Out of all the renewable sectors, wind projects will need to reduce costs the most—experts predict a whopping 35 percent—in order to compete with emerging natural gas options. And renewable energy developers will need to think about keeping costs low from the get-go, establishing only projects and sites that deliver the lowest bottom line—ultimately cutting down their overhead and passing the savings along to their future costumers.

Renewable energy expert Barbara Sands explains how cheap and affordable natural gases are in comparison to oil,, “"Natural gas prices would need to almost triple from the current levels of less than $3.00/MMBtu for renewables to begin to be competitive on a total cost per MWh basis," she says.

On the manufacturing end, the supply chain industry is going to start judging equipment manufacturers who do not improve their performances and reduce the cost of producing their equipment. Nothing motivates like narrowed eyebrows. This means manufacturers too, should jump onboard—or ship, or train, or plane—in utilizing green energy fuels.  

Overall, supply chain managers of all types need to start budgeting renewables into their financial plans, as their increased attention and use of these markets will only encourage the affordability and practicality of these revolutionary options. 

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

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. 


Public-Private Partnerships

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.

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