Red Sea container ship
January 5, 2024

Turning Red: The Latest on What’s Happening With the Supply Chain Disruption Du Jour


Every time it seems we’ve reached the end of global supply chain disruptions, something new emerges.

That was certainly the case at the end of 2023 as Yemen’s Houthi rebels started firing missiles at commercial ships passing through the Red Sea. Naturally, carriers started avoiding the Red Sea altogether until a coalition of governments and the global shipping community could develop a solution.

As 2023 turns to 2024, there’s good news on the disruption front. But there’s undoubtedly another disruption lurking somewhere in the coming months — something we could never anticipate now, but that will make a profound impact on the movement of goods around the world. True end-to-end visibility is the only way to proactively work to overcome the unexpected.

In the meantime, as we return to relative normalcy, continue reading to learn more about what’s going on around the supply chain world.

Maersk Dips its Toes Back Into the Red Sea

On Christmas Eve, Maersk announced that it would “resume shipping operations” in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which were rendered unsafe by missile attacks on commercial vessels conducted by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The U.S. and other nations joined forces after the start of these attacks in early December to make the water on either side of the Suez Canal safe for commercial traffic once again. With a shipping giant like Maersk dipping its does back into the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, expect other carriers to follow suit.

Tackling ‘Turbulence’ With Technology

SupplyChainBrain writes about recent turbulence in the worldwide supply chain, with missile attacks in the Red Sea being just the latest in a string of happenings that have disrupted shipping on a global scale. The publication suggests that these disruptions have given stakeholders (including LSPs and BCOs) “a sense of urgency to future-proof their operations.”

Conventional wisdom suggests the solution lies in technology: automation, digitization, artificial intelligence. These tech-driven solutions are essential to “achieving the resilience, agility, efficiency, and sustainability needed to meet changing demands.” Efficiency is a pivotal term that we’ve written about recently.

The Trends Driving the Supply Chain in 2024

We can assume that a greater reliance on technology will be a widely accepted theme and imperative in 2024 and beyond. What other trends will impact the supply chain this year? SupplyChainDive writes about issues and trends in procurement, including a heavy emphasis on what the supply chain will look like.

According to the story, supply chain resilience is top of mind in a post-pandemic world. COVID-19 “exposed vulnerabilities” and prompted stakeholders to “reevaluate and strengthen their sourcing strategies.” Achieving real resilience in this environment means developing a supply chain that can “withstand unforeseen disruptions.”

Looking at SupplyChainDive’s list of possible solutions for achieving resilience, you’ll see some familiar phrases: supplier diversification (and perhaps less reliance on China), mapping and mitigating risks, and (of course) implementing real-time visibility.

Key Takeaways From the White House’s Council on Supply Chain Resilience

Speaking of resilience, the White House just hosted its first meeting of the Supply Chain Resilience Council. The White House has announced 30 specific actions needed to help the U.S. supply chain grow stronger and reach the level of resilience needed for the modern age.

Key takeaways from the initial meeting of the Council include: resilience first, combating drug shortages with the right strategies, sharing data to enhance transparency, stress testing to create a playbook, and treating climate change like a supply chain issue. These points are essential to rebuilding the supply chain in a way that allows us all to deal with constant and unexpected disruptions. At Cargologik, we couldn’t agree more with these points.

The Winning Formula for Decarbonization

The SupplyChainDive story mentioned above also listed “sustainability and ESG compliance” as a key issue in 2024. A brief written by Bain & Company addresses decarbonization specifically in the automotive supply chain — but with takeaways that are relevant to any niche within the global supply chain.

The article outlines a winning formula that companies are using to decarbonize their supply chains effectively. That four-part formula includes:

  1. Setting ambitious but achievable targets.
  2. Identifying tangible decarbonization levers up and down the value chain.
  3. Building a sequenced decarbonization roadmap to balance tradeoffs.
  4. Moving quickly from strategy to action.

This article is well worth the read, especially for its details on the challenges related to Scope 3 emissions.

It’s Time for a Back-to-Basics Approach to Tech

What will be the 2024 trends related specifically to supply chain and logistics tech? According to FreightWaves, investment in technology will continue but with a back-to-basics approach.

What does a back-to-basics approach entail? Two things:

  1. Support for major business processes.
  2. Creation of massive value for organizations.

The story makes the point that many companies are still using legacy systems that are long outdated. Some companies are also using fragmented systems that are detrimental to achieving their supply chain objectives. For example, using different systems for booking, visibility, document management, etc. Many organizations will use 2024 to modernize these systems in an effort to create cloud-based, flexible tech stacks that offer better data integration.

The story also mentioned the need for visibility and transparency, which echoes the more general trend pieces linked above. In an age of disruption, and given the need for optimized deliveries, real-time visibility (location and status) is more important than ever.

This Year is Visibility’s Time to Shine

There’s a single concept that ties together almost everything we’re seeing in the headlines right now: visibility.

Without end-to-end supply chain visibility, stakeholders in the modern supply chain don’t stand a chance. With constant disruptions, growing regulations, volatile rates, plus more, real-time visibility into the location and status of your goods is the only way to stay ahead.

Supply chain visibility is what we offer at Cargologik. Don’t let the year go by without creating the level of visibility that your organization and its customers deserve. Get started with real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility now.

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