TT Club Warns of the Changing Risk Profile at Ports and Terminals
As pivotal hubs within global trade, container ports and terminals face risks that have potentially serious consequences for international supply chains.
At a recent speech to a conference in Dubai, Julien Horn, Middle East director of TT Club, a leading insurance provider to the ports, terminal, transport and logistics sector, outlined those risks. He highlighted the lessons learned from recent incidents such as the explosion at Tianjin and the increasing occurrence of cyber crime at port facilities.
Fire and theft consistently lead the list of causes in TT Club’s claims, Horn noted. “Port terminals are often seen as the weak link in global supply chains,” he said. “As cargo shifts from one mode to another and is stored for a period of time, operationally it becomes more susceptible to risk. Greater preventative measures must therefore be employed here. This is particularly true in the Middle East region where rapid trade growth and aggressive port expansion continue at rates higher than in other parts of the world.”
The incident in Tianjin last August clearly brought into focus the dangers on which TT Club issues warnings. Recent IMO statistics point to some 15 percent of dangerous goods shipments being in some way deficient in safety measures and the declaration, packing, and handling of such cargoes must be of primary concern to terminal operators. Horn cited a number of problems in need of attention, including poor practices for cargo segregation, lack of adequate storage facilities for dangerous goods, inadequate training in sound practice, and lack of coordination with fire and rescue services.
With regard to the escalating incidence of cyber crime, Horn commented, “Eleven percent of companies worldwide lost over $50,000 as a result of cyber crime and there is evidence that the peril has become much worse over the last two years.”
The supply chain by its very nature is more exposed than other areas of commerce to such risk, according to Horn. “Our advice to combat such threats,” said Horn, “includes a constant awareness of the dangers of infiltration into IT systems, vigilant data protection, careful staff background checks and training, planning for the consequences of a compromised system, and immediate reaction to such an event.”
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