The Importance of Logistics During Natural Disasters

Melton Logistics – 05/16/2024

Uncover effective logistics strategies for post-disaster recovery. From earthquakes to floods, ensure your supply chain’s resilience against natural disasters.

Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and winter storms are cases of extreme weather that can range from a disruption of daily life to the destruction of whole communities. The impacts in the wake of these events have rippling effects that can cause chaos on a local or global scale. Knowing this, it’s important to understand the importance of logistics during these times, and how you can prepare your supply chain in case of a natural disaster.

How Logistics Helps in a Natural Disaster

At its core, logistics is the art of coordination and efficiency. Following a natural disaster, the ability to bridge the gap between supply and demand as fast as possible is the highest priority. Whether it’s the delivery of life-saving equipment to hospitals that are inundated with new admissions, or providing materials needed to rebuild local residences and community buildings, a logistics professional is often counted on to ensure these items are being delivered as safely and quickly as possible.

Semi truck hauling wood logs

How Logistics is Impacted in a Natural Disaster

Despite all preventative measures, natural disasters are inevitable. Every year, many parts of the world can count on certain events to occur like clockwork, and others by complete chance. Despite these events occurring all over the world at any time, customers still expect their deliveries to be on time.

• Infrastructure Damages and Transportation: An earthquake destroying parts of major highways, a wildfire shutting down major roadways, or a hurricane cutting off safe access to a port; the damages from natural disaster on our infrastructure can severely impact the import and export of goods, as well as the transportation of them once they’re received.

Timeline Disruption: Despite the prominent understanding that natural disasters may cause delays, many customers are still depending on you to get their shipments delivered on time. Extreme weather in one part of the supply chain process can enable a domino effect of delays further down the line. Many shipping companies often have to be creative in developing ways to work around these delays, without sacrificing the quality of their performance, and the safety of the goods onboard.

Inventory and Warehousing Challenges: Companies and production facilities that manage and store items onsite where a disaster has occurred know that one of the most immediate challenges is damage to inventory, machinery, or facilities.

How You Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

• Risk Assessments: Knowing the historical weather patterns for the areas your organization operates in provides a firm foundation for your team to build a better response to emergencies. This usually requires identifying vulnerabilities that come along with each season, yearly weather trends, or noted issues in the local infrastructure.

Establishing an Emergency Response Team: Even if the risk is low, developing a communication and action plan to better handle sudden emergencies puts companies in the position to react quickly. Delegating roles and responsibilities, forming a priority contact list, and developing plans to utilize alternative transportation routes or methods enables carriers to ensure the safety of shipments and their own workforce.

Reduce Dependency on Single Suppliers: It can be common for customers to find a trusted carrier or supplier to take care of all their needs, often one that is local to them. However, to reduce risks and ensure capacity is continuous, the need to expand the network and find other contracted carriers that align with your needs cannot be stressed enough. Often times, working with a brokerage to help find shippers, rather than relying on fixed contracts with specific carriers, can help to reduce costs and prevent excess delays.

Predicting the unpredictable is still impossible. Preparing alternatives routes, diversifying the networks utilized for shipping and supplies, and developing a strong communication network across your organization helps to keep moving forward. Melton Logistics is ready to tackle your logistics needs – if you’re ready to get started, view our services page to learn more about how we can help.

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