Expert Insight: Gilmore's Daily Jab
By Dan Gilmore
Date: Oct. 29, 2010

Supply Chain Comment: The Good and Bad of the Cargo Terror Incident


Increased Scrutiny of Air Cargo Seems Inevitable; Public will Take Security over Supply Chain Efficiency Every Time

I am of conflicted minds with regard to the apparent terror "test" in the form of at least one and maybe several toner cartidges with odd wires attached to them and filled with a white powder. (See our detailed coverage at Breaking Global Supply Chain News: Suspected Coordinated Terror Event Targeting Air Cargo Appears to be Underway, Though Whether it is Real or a Test Run Remains Unclear.)

First, the plot itself seems rather amatureish, based on what we know now, and to what real end is not at all clear.

Second, the suspicious package or packages, all apparently coming from Yemen, seem to have been found and stopped.

The original "sinister" device found in England is said, however, to have been identified as a result of some sort of tip - from whom and how is unclear.

Nevertheless, the good news is that the system seems largely to have worked.

The bad news: look what total chaos and media madness (including, I will admit, a bit of that from SCDigest), that this tiny incident in the grand scheme of things has caused.

Meaning, if there ever really is a true attack directly on or from our logistics systems, primarily in the area of air or ocean cargo, our supply chain systems will grind to a halt. For how long? Who knows. It will depend on the type and severity of the incident. Days, weeks, months.

For sure. our individual company supply chains and our national economic security are hugely vulnerable to this sort of terrorist threat. As I have noted in many presentations, some sort of event seems inevitable at some point. Is your supply chain well positioned to keep flowing if the Port of LA/Long Beach, for exampe, is closed for some long period of time because a bomb goes off or is found?

I think that the incident this week will unquestionably cause US officials to relook at air and maybe ocean cargo security. Most cable TV pundits are talking about the constant tension that exists between security and keeping the goods flowing. That pendulum, I believe, is now likely to swing towards the "more security" side.

Is this good or bad? Not sure. But I am fairly confident the public will be a lot less concerned about supply chain efficiency that they are about the terrorist threat.


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Dan Gilmore is the editor of Supply Chain Digest.

Gilmore Says:

I am fairly confident the public will be a lot less concerned about supply chain efficiency that they are about the terrorist threat.

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