U.S. Supply Chain Managers Not Likely to Count on Cuba

IHS Jane’s had identified the equipment shown in the images so far released as an RSN-75 ‘Fan Song’ fire control radar for the SA-2 family of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
July 17, 2013 - SCMR Editorial

U.S. shippers hoping to do business in Cuba in the future were dealt a serious setback yesterday when Panamanian authorities discovered that the renegade nation had been trading undeclared “missile equipment” with North Korea.

IHS Jane’s had identified the equipment shown in the images so far released as an RSN-75 ‘Fan Song’ fire control radar for the SA-2 family of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles.

“It is curious that this cargo was being transported on a North Korean-flagged vessel and not a charter,” said IHS APAC Analyst Neil Ashdown in London. In an interview with SCMR, he added that this development would mean greater scrutiny of pending trade negotiations with Cuba.

The cargo of a North Korean-flagged vessel, the Chong Chon Gang, appeared to have been travelling from Cuba back to North Korea.

Open source Global Information System (GIS) data suggests the Chong Chon Gang had been at Manzanillo, Panama, for at least two days. The AFP reported that the vessel was inspected last Friday (12 July). GIS data obtained by IHS Maritime reveals that the Chong Chon Gang arrived at the southern end of the Panama Canal on 31 May. It passed through the Canal on 1 June, with a stated destination of Havana, Cuba. After that, however, it disappeared from the GIS system and reappeared in Manzanillo, Panama, on 11 July, supposedly en route to North Korea. At this point, its draft had changed, indicating that in the intervening period there has been a change of cargo.

IHS Country Risk assesses that the manner in which the cargo was concealed and the reported reaction of the crew strongly suggests this was a covert shipment of equipment. Further analysis will be dependent on the release of a fuller inventory of the shipment by the Panamanian authorities. One possibility is that Cuba could be sending the system to North Korea for an upgrade. In this case, it would likely be returned to Cuba and the cargo of sugar could be a payment for the services.

However, under a second scenario, the fire-control radar equipment could have been en route to North Korea to augment Pyongyang’s existing air defence network. North Korea’s air defence network is arguably one of the densest in the world, but it is also based on obsolete weapons, missiles and radars. In particular, its high altitude SA-2/3/5 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are ineffective in a modern electronic warfare (EW) environment.



About the Author

image
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).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Supply chain security provider Freightwatch International has released its semi-annual report on cargo theft in the Asia Pacific region for the first half of 2014, which contains some heartening news for U.S. shippers reliant on trucking, warehousing and retail.

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, reports today that a decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed previous rulings by the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in three class action cases involving mostly former independent contractors for FedEx Ground

More talking remains before the deal is done

The transpacific U.S.-flag carrier has been ranked number one in the ocean carrier category for Logistics Management magazine's Quest for Quality award

This year, the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) will be staging the “Connie” Awards dinner in conjunction with IANA’s Intermodal EXPO in Long Beach

Article Topics

News · Global · Trade · Source · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers 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. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.