43-44/2013 Climate change and logistics
One of the subjects that is increasingly moving into freight forwarders and logisticians’ focus is the serious problem of global climate change and its immediate effects on our transport and logistics industry. There isn’t a day that passes without news coming in of a natural catastrophe, with the tragic events happening in every corner of the planet. They repeatedly and drastically illustrate to humanity the extent to which we are at the mercy of the forces of nature.
You probably remember the floods in Central Europe, which lasted for several weeks this summer. On the one hand they caused substantial human suffering, and on the other hand they also severely disrupted inland shipping and the feeder transport and logistics chains that that industry needs to operate successfully. Floods in Pakistan, long heat waves in Russia, Japan and Australia, and the above-mentioned floods in Germany, Czechia and Hungary are not news to climate researchers, who have long predicted a sharp increase in extreme weather patterns over the next few decades.
What also has to be said, however, is that these developments open up windows of opportunity for shippers and the transport industry too. The once impassable Northeast Passage in the Arctic shortens the route to Europe via the seas north of Siberia by no less than 11,000 km when compared to the conventional trade via the Suez Canal and the Straits of Malacca.
Whichever way the cookie crumbles, politicians and businessmen – including logistics managers – will have to meet the challenges of a changing climate sooner rather than later.
Head of forwarding and logistics