Global container carrier APL and supply chain management sister company APL Logistics (APLL) released a white paper on supply chain security that underlines the far-reaching impact of security initiatives globally.
APL's acting chief executive officer, Ron Widdows, said, "Initiatives such as the new Advance Manifest rule that requires filing detailed information on cargo with the U.S. Customs at least 24 hours before a vessel is loaded to sail to the U.S. are significant. But this is just the start."
Widdows said that APL and APLL had commissioned the paper to contribute to the debate about security, to help draw customers' attention to the changes and to help them prepare for the new environment.
"All the initiatives passed or currently under consideration by the U.S. and other governments will mean there have to be changes to processes and systems that stretch far back into the supply chain," Widdows said.
Hans Hickler, chief executive officer of APLL, said that IT tools stretching back to the original source of goods were key to helping provide in a timely fashion the information required to monitor the supply chain.
"Currently, the supply chain is designed to get goods to market as rapidly as possible. It's very much a ‘hands off’ system right from the factory floor, through trucking or barging, terminals, across oceans and on to the customer's door. IT tools are used to provide visibility and inventory management.
"Now all those in world trade need to think about how to use the systems we have in place to provide greater security, how we can adapt it, and how we can work together with the authorities to tighten that supply chain while not causing undue delays to the flow of goods.
"Also," Hickler said, "the fewer the links in the supply chain, the less opportunities there are to compromise it."
Hickler and Widdows highlighted that access to technology remained an issue in some parts of the world that may disadvantage those wanting to export to the U.S.
There was also a cost issue, they said, although it was too soon to assess the impact of that, since it depended so much on the implementation of the various initiatives.
"But it still leaves the overarching question of how much and who pays, and the important question of how to balance potential delays with the clear and present need for more security," they said.
A PDF will be available shortly on www.apl.com or www.apllogistics.com.