Victor Restis and His Opinion on Commercial Shipping
This article published in Warehouse News U.K. gets me thinking about our global supply chains and how fragile they can be. I think they took a hit from the coronavirus, but thankfully we did not experience a dire collapse of product movement and distribution.
Yes, the shelves at the store were out of toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and other items swept up by hoarders who thought the end of the world was near. But the systems in place to deliver more supplies (had there been any) were still in place. Petrol stations stayed open; grocery stores stayed open, essential supplies were mostly available (sans the products previously mentioned). Yet, for the most part, our global supply chain held up, at least that is what I perceived.
Victor Restis, a Greek shipping mogul, shared a different point of view from a much different perspective than my own. According to Restis, the commercial shipping industry took some solid hits and exposed weaknesses that the industry is now gathering to address, so that future events do not strain our system of receiving products we need.
The article talks about the risk to our supply chain is human resources. This makes sense seeing that this industry employs more than 2 million people across the globe. They captain the vessels, operate the ships, work in the warehouses, and out on the shipping docks. They unload and reload large vessels, move product from point A to point B and point C and load up the trucks that eventually arrive at the stores and markets where we make purchases.
If most countries had stay-at-home orders, how are all these functions supposed to operate? Even if these workers are considered essential, what if the virus was much more potent, making more people sick and keeping more people away from work? Scary to consider this scenario and what the ripple effect would have felt like. Would we have panicked even more than we did already? Well, fortunately, we don’t have to think about that for now.
In looking back using our 20/20 vision, we will see where weaknesses are and use the latest technologies to fix those areas. Mr. Restis mentions that most commercial shipping vessels are outfitted with the latest technologies for cost savings and efficiency, so we will have to wait and see what changes will be made in the future to ensure our global supply chain network.