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The supply chain held hostage

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 31, 2011

Irrespective of political concerns or positions, the current upheaval in Egypt must not result in the closing of the Suez Canal.

With anarchists planning a “million man march” in Cairo tomorrow, along with a nationwide strike, transport analysts are rightly concerned about a profound disruption in the global supply chain.

This vital economic link and resource is operated by what is left of the Egyptian government. It’s closure, if even temporary, could send oil prices soaring. Never mind what this will mean to container traffic.

So far, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has yet to determine if an emergency meeting is necessary this week, but by all observation, they should not wait long.

Meanwhile, the Suez Canal Authority is reporting “normal” container vessel traffic today, with approximately 50 ships deployed through this vital artery linking the Red Sea to the Med.

With tensions in the region growing and “anti-West” sentiment taking hold, our greatest fear now is that attacks may actually be made on shipping companies and on the Canal Authority itself.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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