Supply chain insomnia: What keeps you up at night?

John Parrott

John Parrott, director, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

NEW ORLEANS – Worried about operational costs? Labor shortages? Potential supply-chain disruptions? How about living within missile range of North Korea?

These were some of the supply chain management topics that came up during the parting-shot session March 4 at AirCargo 2015, titled “What Keeps You Up at Night?” The interactive discussion was moderated by Brandon Fried, chair of the Airforwarders Association.

John Parrott, airport director at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, said that operating in Alaska, in relatively proximity to an unstable leader in North Korea, makes him think often about “political issues.”

Along the same vein, George Trapp, manager of security, safety and regulatory affairs for Purolator International, said his ultimate nightmare is an improvised explosive device slipping into a crack in the cargo supply chain. He said the possibility of TSA audits also concern him, but echoed Parrot, saying that security is their main concern.

George Trapp

George Trapp, manager of security, Purolator International

Dave Kreigh, director of transportation at Towne Air Freight/Forward Air, said the continued shrinkage of the truck driver pool keeps him up at night. The average age for truckers is 52 to 55 years old, and they are not going to be around much longer he said. “It was a glamorous job in the ’60s or ’70s,” he said. “Everyone wanted a CB radio.” Because of the coming shortage expected, drivers are going to be a hot commodity.

Chris Connell, president of Commodity Forwarders Inc., said “everything” keeps him up, including port strikes, fuel costs, government rules, weather, and solid staffing. He said staff turnover is much costlier now than it was five years ago. One member of the audience agreed, noting that everything is more expensive than five years ago.

Hopefully, with the close of the conference, they got a good sleep last night, before heading to their respective businesses.

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