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ASCM Insights

Clearing Logistical Hurdles in Times of Dire Need


Early Monday, a devasting 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. The world is watching in horror as the death toll rises, reaching more than 22,000 at the time of publication on Friday morning. Rescue workers continue to pull survivors from the rubble, despite bitter cold and lack of access to food and water. Humanitarian groups are losing hope that they will find many more survivors or be able to adequately treat so many victims who need urgent medical care.

Unfortunately, the passage of time and the brutal conditions aren’t the only blockers to rescue and treatment. Collapsed buildings have made many roads impassable; a runway at the airport in the Hatway province of Turkey was destroyed; and knocked-over containers and a resultant fire at the Port of Iskenderun in southern Turkey led to the closure of the important port. Everstream Analytics told The Wall Street Journal that it expects airfreight backlogs to worsen as airports limit passenger flights, which often carry freight, in order to give priority to rescue teams. It also warned that basic road transport will be severely interrupted while workers strive to clear rubble.

Furthermore, the United Nations has been prevented from entering opposition-held territory in Syria and can't deliver any aid at all. The country has been in a civil war for more than a decade, and resultant sanctions are slowing rescue missions. Local rescuers are overwhelmed, and supplies are dwindling. The New York Times reports, “The United Nations (U.N.) and aid agencies have to negotiate access with the government of Bashar Al-Assad and rely on the U.N. Security Council’s authority for cross-border access to opposition-held areas.”

Making an impact

Many commendable organizations are accepting monetary donations to help those in need right away. ALAN, the American Logistics Aid Network, provides supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations by bringing together the expertise and resources of the logistics industry with nonprofit disaster relief organizations. ALAN is collecting donations for warehousing space, heavy machinery and more right now.

In addition, the Logistics Emergency Team (LET) is a coalition of global logistics companies working with the United Nations to provide warehouse space, ground transportation, financial support and customs clearance to get supplies to those who needed them most. Initiated by the World Economic Forum and with locations based out of Hungary, Poland and Romania, the companies provide expert local knowledge to streamline and organize supply distribution. LET is always looking for more supply chain partners, and I encourage you to learn more.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through