Supply chain accidents

Thursday, April 15, 2021


The risks of international trade exist despite the security and prevention measures taken in companies. Knowing these risks and dangers in operations is vital to try to mitigate risks that are external to companies and avoid human errors within the processes of organizations at all costs.

These risks often translate into accidents that end in millions of dollars in losses for international trade.

Next, we will talk about the accidents in foreign trade that caused the most damage in the supply chain:

      1. Grounding in the Suez Canal

Last March 2021, the grounding of the freighter Ever Given caused the blockade of the Suez Canal; one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Measuring 400 meters long and 60 meters wide, it was stranded around 7:40 in the morning (05:40 GMT), according to local media, due to a technical failure. Canal authorities had to deploy numerous tugboats to try to clear the route, as well as bulldozers to clear earth and clear the way.

The stagnation of the freighter in the canal lasted for 6 days, resulting in millions in losses for the port, shipping companies and companies. According to the international trade magazine Lloyd’s List, 420 ships had to pass the canal at the time the ship ran aground; blocking the equivalent of $ 9.6 billion of daily uploads

In addition to the above, the blockade also cost the canal around $ 15 million per day for the tolls it stopped receiving.

What happened in the Suez Canal was exacerbating a long-standing problem: the shortage of shipping containers in Asia. This means that retailers can take several more days to receive merchandise ranging from televisions to furniture and auto parts, among others.

Unfortunately, the consequences were not unique to the Suez Canal; International trade was also affected, shipping rates for petroleum product ships nearly doubled, and the lockdown disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already grappling with Covid restrictions.



     2. Loss on container ship

At the end of 2020, the ONE shipping company witnessed the ravages of climatic changes and witnessed an event that left millions of dollars in losses for the shipping company.

The wrecked container ship ONE Apus docked in the port of Kobe in Japan after it suffered severe weather and lost 1,816 containers in one of the major shipping disasters of the last decade.

For which the Japanese shipping company Ocean Network Express (ONE) estimates that 1,816 containers fell overboard and of them, 64 contained dangerous goods, including: 54 with fireworks, 8 batteries and 2 of liquid ethanol.

Cargo claims exceeded $ 50 million for the accident, the worst container loss since 2013 with another Japanese vessel, the sinking of the MOL Comfort resulting in the loss of 4,293 containers


     3. Railroad accident in the United States

The tractor head of a trailer was run over by a freight train in the American town of Pendleton, in the state of Indiana, after the vehicle, for unknown reasons, stopped in the middle of the tracks of a crossing to level.
Fortunately, the trucker was able to get out of the cab in time, but the images in the videos that were recorded at the time of the accident are chilling.
As a consequence of the impact of the train on the tractor head, it was torn from the rest of the assembly and moved for several meters by the freight train machine.



     4.Commercial flight accident

On July 1, 2002, a Boeing 757 of the DHL cargo company takes off from Bergamo, where it had made a stopover, bound for Brussels; while from Moscow, and bound for Barcelona, a Tupolev 154M from the Bashkirian Airlines company took off with 69 passengers on board.
Both planes had to fly over the city of Überlingen, on the border between Germany and Switzerland; where the airspace was controlled by the company “Sky Guide”.
Unfortunately an error in the protocols triggered the tragedy; where the cargo plane and the commercial flight collided, leaving 71 people dead
The accident occurred, as is often the case, due to several factors: communications interrupted by the maintenance service, the lack of an action procedure in certain cases such as contradictory TCAS and controller orders, the work overload of the controller and his confusion when indicating the route to follow


As we can see, there are risk factors that cannot be controlled and exceed human measures, therefore logistics and transport is a sector that requires specialization to have measures that allow mitigating the external risks that transport and logistics activities have. Even so, the economic damages year after year continue to be reflected due to accidents such as those mentioned above.