The Suez canal blockage in March has been described by analysts as “yet another reason” for companies to map, analyse and monitor risks in their supply chain.
The nearly week-long blockage of the Suez canal by the Ever Given container vessel in March held up billions of pounds worth of trade, with the impacts expected to ripple through the global economy for weeks or even months.
The most common materials passing through the canal into Europe include vehicle parts, garments, electrical materials, toys, copper, machines and mechanical appliances, plastics, pharmaceutical goods and wine.
According to analysis collated by data experts Dun & Bradstreet and software firm E2open, the UK is one of the countries expected to be impacted the most by the incident. The most affected industries will include:
- Food and drink
- Wholesale trade
- Health services
- Industrial and commercial machinery and equipment
- Metal production
- Automotive services.
Companies are being recommended to conduct an immediate assessment of their suppliers to determine the potential impact of the incident on their supply chain and identify alternative suppliers in non-impacted regions if needed.
In the longer-term, experts are urging companies to continuously monitor risks that could impact the productivity of their supply chain, by creating a plan that supports a “flexible and agile network” regardless of unexpected events.
Brian Alster, General Manager, Third-Party Risk & Compliance at Dun & Bradstreet, said:
“The disaster of the moment becomes a global phenomenon because we realised the interconnectedness that comes with globalisation and our reliance [on] each other as contributors to the global supply chain. Companies have developed a higher level of dependency on suppliers and third parties from other countries, and that dependency is highlighted when a link in the supply chain is impacted.
“The Suez canal incident gives us yet another reason for businesses to invest in data and technology to create an agile, geographically dispersed supply chain that can quickly pivot during unexpected events.”