Supply chain disruptions in Mali and beyond
As a landlocked country, Mali is extremely dependent on economic trade via road and rail corridors with neighbouring countries in West Africa, including access to ports. The movement of vehicles in this conflict-affected country needs step-by-step recommendations and is dependent on the specific area of operation. In general, the threat of attacks in northern and central parts of Mali is higher than in the southern region. Security escorts for logistical convoys are especially suitable north of the line Kayes-Koulikoro-Sikasso.
The mining industry in Mali, as well as in other Sahel countries, faces threats of direct attacks and kidnappings. Risk management and mitigation becomes increasingly important for companies involved in the mining sector or in the provision of logistics. ‘Hardening’ the supply chain includes gathering knowledge and conducting comprehensive threat and risk assessments. This whitepaper provides an insight into the challenges of securing supply chains in Mali in the midst of conflict.
Shipping operations in the Persian Gulf
The attacks against tankers off Fujairah in May and in the Gulf of Oman in June had a direct impact on the threat to shipping operations in the Persian Gulf. More recently, a crude oil tanker reported harassment by Iranian boats, an apparent retaliation after a tanker carrying oil from Iran had been seized in Gibraltar.
This whitepaper examines the events leading up to these incidents and provides a short analysis of the current situation. Several scenarios outline the potential impact on shipping operations in the Persian Gulf over the coming months, highlighting the need for contingency plans and relevant mitigation measures. These are necessary for individual vessels, but also on the company level and should be based on a comprehensive security risk assessment, including the relevant threats, vulnerabilities and consequences.
Managing risks in global supply chains
“Disruptions to supply chains, whether they are natural, accidental or intentional, are increasingly distorting supply chain performance. Given that such disruptions are unlikely to decrease in the short term, risk management will play an increasingly significant role in global supply chains.”
- Prof. Dr. Omera Khan
The whitepaper, written in an easy-to-read, accessible style, explores the dangers posed to land-based cargo movement through theft, ‘false pickups’, terrorism, hijackings and other threats. Highlighting real-life instances of actual incidents, it interviews security experts and other authorities on supply chain risk in order to identify ways to mitigate and neutralise such threats.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
Nigeria – and particularly the Niger Delta – has been the main concern for ships operating in West Africa in the past. This situation is very unlikely to change. However, the analysis of individual attacks or incidents that have been reported as suspicious has to take into account general patterns of life and other types of criminal activities, such as fuel smuggling or illegal fishing. It is otherwise impossible to determine accurate threat levels for specific areas.
Governments throughout West Africa are unlikely to prioritise maritime security issues, yet the topic has at least received an increasing amount of attention in recent years. Improving maritime security will nevertheless be a long-term challenge, involving both the public and the private sector. This whitepaper provides a brief look at current problems and potential solutions.
Securing the end-to end supply chain
Businesses’ perspective on supply chain risk has matured. Yes, ‘macro level’ risks such as currency exposure, supplier failure, commodity price volatility, and political instability still matter. But so too do a whole series of threats to logistics operations and processes—threats such as sea piracy, cargo theft, violent activism, terrorism, and transhipment through ports where organised crime is endemic.
Yet it’s not necessarily the direct costs of lost or damaged cargo resulting from these threats that keeps senior executives awake at night. The reputational costs, and the damage to businesses’ brands, can easily outweigh these many times over. The risks of physical harm being caused to staff during any incidents is another important motivation.
But in seeking to mitigate these threats, the dilemma faced by businesses is an awkward one. The threats are real, and so are the costs. Knowing how to protect their supply chains, though, is another matter. The problem: lack of information about where exactly the threats lie in the end to end supply chain—a supply chain that can stretch from faraway factories to ‘final mile’ deliveries to the end-consumer. On land, at sea, and in ports.
Talking to experts, and probing the lessons to be learned from real-life case studies, this Whitepaper explores the issues involved, and asks: how can businesses protect themselves?