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Mitigating the impact of extreme weather on supply chains

The U.S. has seen many extreme weather events over the past two years, including an ice storm in Texas, one of the largest wildfires in California’s history and a hurricane in the Northeast. According to a Gallup poll released April 6th, one in three Americans has been affected by extreme weather events such as hurricanes and winter weather in the past two years.

Another serious concern is the number of tornadoes the U.S. has seen recently. March had at least 210 confirmed tornadoes, the most March twisters on record, surpassing the previous record of 192 in March 2017. And those numbers could continue to rise as more survey results come in.

While not all extreme storms are associated with climate change, the frequency of these storms can be attributed to a warming planet, and they have had a significant financial impact on communities in the regions where they occur.

With the growing alarm surrounding climate change comes concern regarding preparedness. Experts have said that governments have not been spending enough time or money preparing for climate disasters. If greenhouse gas emissions, the largest cause of climate change, continue unabated, affected areas will find themselves unable to recover.

The trucking industry will not be exempt from those impacts. Serious climate events could cause rates to increase as carriers may charge more for truckers to drive through dangerous weather. These events could also significantly affect delivery times, with a major impact on the value chain.

“We’re never going to be able to perfectly control the environment,” said Tyler Cole, director of carbon intelligence at FreightWaves. “I think we have the tools where we can now plan better for [extreme weather events], and we can build around that.”

Using the latest technology can be an easy way to provide sound communication with customers regarding delivery times, and to mitigate risk for drivers and carriers.

“Carriers should be tracking [areas prone to extreme weather] for their drivers and understanding that they don’t want to put their drivers lives at risk. As you’re planning, use technology such as a radar, and be alert to avoid consequences,” Cole said.