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UN toolbox tackles supply chain resilience

1 September 2022
The challenges posed by to maritime logistics by global health issues, conflict and extreme weather are addressed in UNCTAD’s new toolset.

The UN Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has launched a new set of tools aimed at building resilience across the maritime supply chain. The package, available online, follows a series of disruptions including extreme weather, COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis that have exposed the vulnerability of global logistics, and anticipates that similar factors will become a permanent feature of the “new normal”.

The website includes a guidebook for ports entitled Building Capacity to Manage Risks and Enhance Resilience. The book presents a stepwise approach as well as tools and methods to build capacity to enhance port resilience, highlighting the importance of preparedness and effective risk management.

Rebeca Grynspan, UNCTAD Secretary General told ICS: “Amid diverse crises and disruptions, ports should prepare and plan for the unknown and pursue proactive resilience-building. UNCTAD is supporting countries to move from crisis response to a proactive resilience strategy to keep trade flowing even in difficult times.”

UNCTAD Technology and Logistics Director Shamika N. Sirimanne explained that other resources will support ports and other maritime supply chain actors by providing tools for risk identification, assessment, management and good practice, as well as a step-by-step resilience-building process.

“As disruptions are becoming part of the new normal, resilience and risk management emerge as new mantras for transport, logistics, trade and supply chains,” she said.

At UNCTAD’s ninth expert meeting on transport, trade logistics and trade facilitation, held in July, member states expressed concern over the ripple effects of disruptive events, which can drive up consumer prices, inflate food and energy bills and reduce transport service reliability. Developing countries are particularly exposed as they have become major players in global logistics yet have less resilient economies.

The UNCTAD resilience work is part of a wider UN initiative launched in 2020 addressing “transport and trade connectivity in the age of pandemics”. Further steps will include the roll out of a new six-module UNCTAD course on ports and maritime supply chain resilience.