Blown Away: Big data for disaster avoidance

A common industry theme in how best to face disaster scenarios like the recent hurricanes is to use emerging technology offerings to make informed, intelligent decisions ahead of time wherever possible. Some of the available options include Resilinc, DHL’s Resilience360 and C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere, which use big-data analysis and real-time information updates to help shippers, 3PLs and other companies in the air cargo space make important decisions for coping with interruptions from earthquakes and hurricanes to strikes and political upheaval.

Discussing how these offerings aid shippers, Resilinc CEO Bindiya Vakil said the important work comes before disaster strikes, with the evaluation of individual businesses and the designation of the operations that are crucial and need backup plans. “Data analytics let you understand the supply chain by mapping the ports and suppliers that your business is dependent on, all the way back to revenue,” she said.

The platforms also address interruptions that go unreported during disasters, when most updates focus on the human factor. Resilience360 risk analyst Mirko Woitzik pointed out that “customs information can be very hard to get during a disaster, with no open-source intelligence about it, but we put it in the system and it’s very crucial to customers.” The questions of whether specific rail terminals are open or if roads are in acceptable shape for last-mile deliveries likely won’t make the front page of any news source, but are crucial to logistics providers.

The benefit of monitoring these granular details is, “the sooner you get the information, the sooner you can do something about it,” added Resilience360 head Tobias Larsson.

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Caryn Livingston

Caryn Livingston is Editor of the monthly magazine Air Cargo World and Deputy Editor of the company’s monthly newsletter, Cargo Facts, and its weekly e-mail publication Cargo Facts Update. Prior to joining Cargo Facts in 2017, Caryn worked as a journalist in Houston covering the oil and gas industry. She holds a BA in English from the University of Tulsa and an MA in Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.