SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCE
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Committee on Building Adaptable and Resilient Supply Chains After
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Office of Special Projects
Policy and Global Affairs
A Consensus Study Report of
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Strengthening Post-Hurricane Supply Chain Resilience: Observations from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25490.
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A valued member of this committee, Dr. M. Sam Mannan passed away unexpectedly during the course of this study. His untimely death was a deeply felt loss to this study, the staff, and the committee members as we all miss his intellectual contributions and his great enthusiasm for this work. Sam brought his many years of experience and vast expertise as a chemical engineer and a dedicated professional to the committee process to enrich and shape the study and its approach, and quickly became an invaluable member of this group. He is remembered as a friend of this committee and a guiding force for supply chain resilience to come. As the committee and staff, we hope that this study does him and his memory proud. We dedicate this volume to his memory.
COMMITTEE ON BUILDING ADAPTABLE AND RESILIENT SUPPLY CHAINS AFTER HURRICANES HARVEY, IRMA, AND MARIA
JAMES FEATHERSTONE (Chair), Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council
ÖZLEM ERGUN, Northeastern University
KATHY FULTON, American Logistics Aid Network
WALLACE HOPP, University of Michigan
PINAR KESKINOCAK, Georgia Institute of Technology
BRYAN KOON, IEM
ALICE LIPPERT, Energy Analyst / Independent Consultant
SAM MANNAN, Texas A&M University (deceased, September 11, 2018)
CRAIG PHILIP, Vanderbilt University
KEVIN SMITH, Sustainable Supply Chain Consulting
SHERRIE FORREST, Senior Program Officer
LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer
LAUREN ALEXANDER-AUGUSTINE, Program Director
DANIELLE GOLDSMITH, Senior Program Assistant
In the third quarter of 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria revealed some significant vulnerabilities in the national and regional supply chains of Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. This trifecta of disasters tested the capacities of these supply chains and their ability to provide essential goods and services. The broad impacts and quick succession of the three hurricanes also shed light on the effectiveness of the nation’s disaster logistics efforts during response through recovery.
Resilient supply chains are crucial to maintaining the consistent delivery of goods and services to the American people. The modern economy has made supply chains more interconnected than ever, while also expanding both their range and fragility. Every day, we move and consume a staggering number of pounds of groceries, gallons of freshwater, tons of fuel, kilowatt-hours of electricity, and myriad pharmaceutical products and medical goods. The procurement and distribution of these materials and capabilities depends on supply chains that are effective and efficient for most consumers. This efficiency is the result of complex and well-ordered networks that, in normal times, are balanced but also vulnerable to a network disruption occurring many miles or days distal to the point of consumption that can be both catastrophic and long-lasting.
Many of the challenges that emerged in 2017 were the result of prior policy and planning strategies that created problems within essential supply chain sectors. Hurricane Harvey revealed how Houston’s land use patterns affected supply chain operations; Hurricane Irma brought visibility to the limited number of major transit corridors, which impeded the availability of fuel in South Florida; the U.S. Virgin Islands faced import and reconstruction disruptions from Hurricanes Irma and Maria due to a lack of buffer or alternative capabilities; and the weak pre-storm state of infrastructure exacerbated Puerto Rico’s power and communications capacity, which was devastated for months following Hurricane Maria.
Lessons were learned during the 2017 hurricanes that can inform future strategies to improve supply chain management. For instance, it became clear that a working knowledge of the fundamentals and realities of critical supply chains are necessary for crisis logisticians.
A number of efforts begun in the wake of these storms will help to ensure that essential supply chains remain operational in the next major disaster, including continuity planning, partnerships between civic and business leaders, mechanisms for more effective communication and information sharing, and investments in critical infrastructure.
This report represents two years of research and collaboration across several regions with a committee representing both academic and applied expertise. Each member provided information, perspective, and context to this issue of growing importance, and their work is much appreciated. We hope that the effort put into this report will result in more adaptive and resilient strategies for addressing the supply chain challenges our nation will face in future disasters.
James Featherstone, Committee Chair
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David Alderson, Naval Postgraduate School; Nezih Altay, DePaul University; Héctor Carlo Colón, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez; Ann-Margaret Esnard, Georgia State University; Bradley Ewing, Texas Tech University; Erica Gralla, George Washington University; Stephen Graves, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gregory Guannel, University of the Virgin Islands; and Jose Holguin-Veras, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Susan Hanson, Clark University and Sridhar Tayur, Carnegie Mellon University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
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