Disaster Preparedness

How Transportation Providers Can Bolster Shippers’ Disaster Preparedness

Disasters strike without warning, leaving chaos in their wake. For shippers, these events can disrupt supply chains, jeopardize cargo and impact business continuity. The role of a transportation provider extends beyond moving goods efficiently; it encompasses safeguarding customers against the unpredictable.

When evaluating a transportation provider, consider the following key factors when it comes to disaster preparedness:

  1. 1

    Collaboration & Communication

    Transportation providers should build strong partnerships with shippers with frequent two-way communications and a deep understanding of the shippers’ unique vulnerabilities, critical routes and dependencies. During emergencies, these relationships can yield collaborative problem-solving.

  2. 2

    Risk Assessment & Planning

    Providers should identify disaster-prone areas along shipping routes and proactively evaluate risks related to weather, geological events and infrastructure vulnerabilities. They should develop contingency plans for scenarios such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, blizzards, wildfires and other crises.

  3. 3

    Infrastructure Resilience

    Good transportation providers will conduct regular assessments of customers’ terminal facilities, evaluating structural integrity, security of equipment and energy resilience. Providers should also encourage shippers to diversify routes as overreliance on one path increases vulnerability.

  4. 4

    Personnel Training & Support

    Transportation providers should ensure personnel know what to do in case of an emergency and have dedicated response teams that can spring into action in case of a disaster. During disasters, employees face personal challenges, and providers should show empathy, provide support and prioritize safety.

  5. 5

    Technology & Data Insights

    Providers should implement tracking systems to monitor the location of cargo to ensure rerouting in the event of a disaster. Historical data and predictive models can help anticipate risks and proactively adjust operations.

  6. 6

    Collaboration with Government Agencies

    Providers should engage with local emergency management agencies to understand evacuation plans, road closures and resource availability.

  7. 7

    Flexibility & Agility

    During crises, flexibility is key. Providers should empower teams to make swift decisions during crises.

  8. 8

    Post- Disaster Recovery

    Providers should collaborate with shippers on recovery plans, prioritizing solutions to restore critical supply chain needs. Beyond business interests, transportation providers can also play a role in disaster recovery, extending assistance to communities by transporting water, food and building supplies during recovery and clean-up.

    Transportation providers who are ready and proactive play a big role in disaster resilience. Being prepared is a shared responsibility between shippers and carriers that can help keep the supply chain moving during and after emergencies.

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