Rebuilding port and resilient maritime supply chain networks in Asia
Yui-yip (Joseph) Lau, Adolf K.Y. Ng, Zaili Yang
With the cancellation of sales and shipping contracts and economic contraction, late delivery of goods, and emergencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, global importers, exporters, and the tourism sector have all been significantly affected.
With the cancellation of sales and shipping contracts and economic contraction, late delivery of goods, and emergencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, global importers, exporters, and the tourism sector have all been significantly affected. The Greater Bay Area (GBA) in China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ports as the strategic intermodal connectors for maritime supply chains are no exception. Ports and maritime supply chains have done a magnificent job in business continuity. Yet, they have been affected by and contributed to a broad range of issues, including: (1) port traffic reduction, (2) challenges in conducting operations such as manual paperwork and dock works, (3) hinterland accessibility such as truck driver shortages, (4) the buildup of empty shipping containers and storage of perishable goods, and (5) practicing/supporting risk control measures. The wide range of maritime supply chain stakeholders, highly complex port and maritime supply chain operations, and port authorities are important factors for risk managers to take into consideration. They must consider the interaction among these factors to avoid the silo approach when devising/implementing new measures, especially with unprecedented risks, to enhance resilience. This would result in an acceptable level of resilience of the ports and maritime supply chains as a whole, rather than imbalanced and localized efforts to support the related people, processes, and systems. It is challenging to predict the long-term economic effects of the pandemic considering the involved immense uncertainty. However, exploring the short-term effects, vulnerable actors, activities, and systems are imperative. Here, resilience is defined as planning and preparing for changes, and absorbing, recovering from, and adapting to them. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate implemented/potential resilience-building measures (risk prevention and reduction controls) and determine the resilience level of the port and maritime supply chain. The very definition of resilience has changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, a new project is needed to address this research gap.
This 18-month study investigates the state of port and maritime supply chain resilience in the face of a pandemic by developing a Decision Supporting System for Port Pandemic Resilience (DPPR) and a practical Port Pandemic Resilience Index (PPRI). The system and the index are based on general port and maritime supply chain operations. After that, they are calibrated and quantified for eleven major ports in the GBA and nine major ports among the ASEAN nations. Additionally, we will conduct a complex network analysis to understand the connectivity among the maritime supply chain networks and ports in the GBA and ASEAN countries, their properties and structure within the context of pandemics, including COVID-19 itself. This offers a better outlook on the resilience of ports and the maritime supply chains in the emerging markets and mobilizes knowledge between them. It should be noted that the ports of interest are among the world’s busiest ports with direct connections to major global and regional markets. As such, the Institute of Seatransport and Hong Kong Sea Transport and Logistics Association are willing to provide the required data and support for the twenty selected ports. As mentioned above, the specific outcomes are: (1) theory and research methods in the context of port and maritime supply chain resilience, and disseminate findings in scientific and professional publications, webinars, and conferences; (2) a visually accessible, extendable, and updatable DPPR that is holistic in approach; (3) a PPRI; (4) networks with Chinese and ASEAN port authorities to enhance future communication and goal-oriented research and development; and (5) the mobilization of knowledge with Chinese and ASEAN ports in response to the pandemic.