Making sure it’s business as usual, whatever the weather

The UK was recently subjected to an extreme cold spell that saw widespread disruption across the UK. Dozens of rail services and flights were delayed or cancelled, thousands of schools were closed, a raft of homes were left without power in certain parts of the country and many people struggled to get to work in the snowy and icy conditions.

This short spell of disruption would have come at a cost to the UK economy, but in reality we should be thankful we’re not subjected to the extremes of weather that can impact other parts of the world. Anyone remember the scenes we saw on our TVs in the wake of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and Florida? In addition to the devastation caused to thousands of families’ homes, businesses were left in turmoil too. Florida, for example saw the price of its diesel soar and shipping and trucking capacity was severely limited in the region. It is estimated that the economic cost of the storm which has caused significant damage to homes, businesses and crops could be as much as £227bn.

The knock on effect of the storm’s impact is still being felt, especially for any businesses with suppliers based in the storm-damaged regions. This event highlights the increasing risks businesses face when they have a supply base in a region that could be affected by adverse weather or other environmental factors such as earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.

No matter where in the world your critical supply base is located it is essential that businesses ask their suppliers the right questions from the start of their relationship. Even with non-business critical purchasing activity, adopting a proactive approach to on-boarding/supplier evaluation and supplier contracting means that you can assess your suppliers and ask questions about disaster recovery, insurances, and best practice around handling large scale environmental events from the outset. Sounds obvious, but it’s very easy to overlook this line of questioning, especially if purchasing is being done on a decentralised basis.

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Hurricane Harvey Causing Concern for Ground Freight Operations

While it is no surprise that a hurricane can cause hazardous weather conditions for the trucking industry, it is always important to be vigilant, check reliable sources of weather information, and heed the postings of local, state, and federal emergency management.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if your shipping schedule takes you into or near the impacted areas of Hurricane Harvey:

Hurricane is much more than a storm that impacts the landfall location.

The media pays great attention to the point of landfall; however, serious impacts of Harvey will be felt more than 200 miles from the eye of the storm.

The most notable impacts to be aware and cautious of are:

High winds and wind gusts

At the time of this writing, Harvey is expected to be packing sustained winds of 115 mph, with gusts up to 140 mph when it makes landfall.

Flooding

Even as this hurricane is downgraded to a tropical storm or even a tropical depression, the amount of rainfall expected as the storm lingers along the coastline is staggering.

Severe weather

Severe thunderstorm outbreaks often occur in the outer bands of a storm.

The best advice for all is to simply avoid the broadly impacted area of this storm leading up to and for the days following landfall. If you are unable to avoid the area, obey postings, road closures, and recommendations from emergency management officials in the area.

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