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Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions

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TRB’s National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) has released a pre-publication version of Research Report 39: Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. The report provides guidance to public and private stakeholders on mitigating and adapting to logistical disruptions to supply chains resulting from regional, multi-regional, and national adverse events, both unanticipated and anticipated.

The report, which makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge on freight transportation and system resiliency:

(1) assesses research, practices, and innovative approaches in the United States and other countries related to improving freight transportation resiliency;

(2) explores strategies to build relationships that result in effective communication, coordination, and cooperation among affected parties;

(3) identifies factors affecting resiliency;

(4) analyzes potential mitigation measures;

(5) characterizes spatial and temporal scale considerations such as emergency planning and response timeframes;

(6) prioritizes response activities by cargo types, recipients, and suppliers;

(7) identifies potential barriers and gaps such as political boundaries, authorities, ownership, modal competition and connectivity, and social and environmental constraints; and

(8) examines the dynamics of supply chain responses to system disruptions.

The report also includes a self-assessment tool that allows users to identify the current capability of their organization and institutional collaboration in preparing for and responding to supply chain disruptions.

Disruptions to the supply chain and their aftermath can have serious implications for both public agencies and companies. When significant cargo delays or diversions occur, the issues facing the public sector can be profound.

Agencies must gauge the potential impact of adverse events on their transportation system, economy, community, and the resources necessary for preventive and remedial actions, even though the emergency could be thousands of miles away.

Increasing temporary or short-term cargo-handling capacity may involve a combination of regulatory, informational, and physical infrastructure actions, as well as coordination across jurisdictional boundaries and between transportation providers and their customers.

For companies, concerns can include such issues as ensuring employee safety, supporting local community health, maintaining customer relationships when products and goods are delayed, and ultimately preserving the financial standing of the company.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

8.5 x 11

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter 1-1
Contents 2-2
Part 1: Improving Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions 3-10
Summary 11-16
Chapter 1: Research Motivation and Approach 17-20
Chapter 2: System Performance and Supply Chain Resiliency: Review of the Literature 21-38
Chapter 3: System Resiliency Scenarios and Case Studies 39-42
Chapter 4: Synthesis of Results of Case Studies and Interviews 43-60
Chapter 5: Analysis Tools and Models for Supply Chain Resilience 61-74
Chapter 6: Guidance for Stakeholder Mitigation and Adaptation of Supply Chains to Disruption 75-77
Chapter 7: Implementing the Results of This Research 78-79
Chapter 8: Future Research 80-83
Chapter 9: Conclusion 84-85
Bibliography 86-93
Appendix A: Inland Waterway/Locks Scenario 5 94-104
Appendix B: Responding to Surge in Freight Trafic Caused by Military Deployments 105-114
Appendix C: Case Study of Grain Supply Chain from Illinois to New Orleans 115-121
Part 2: Guidance for Stakeholders to Mitigate and Adapt to Disruption on Supply Chains 122-124
Guidance for Stakeholders to Mitigate and Adapt to Disruption on Supply Chains 125-124
Introduction 125-125
Supply Chains and Resilience: Definitions 126-128
Supply Chains and Resilience: Stakeholder Roles 129-129
Characteristics of Disruptions 130-132
Framework for Making Supply Chains More Resilient 133-143
Strategies for Enhancing Supply Chain/Transportation System Resilience 144-152
Bringing It Together 153-155

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