Mitigating the threat of terrorist attacks on your supply chain

Mitigating the threat of terrorist attacks on your supply chain

In 2016 there were 319 terrorist attacks on supply chains in 33 different countries, according to research by the British Standard Institute. As a proportion relative to all terrorist attacks it represented an increase of 19% on 2015.


If procurement didn’t think terrorism was a risk that could directly impact their supply chains then they need to think again.


The worst affected industries were found to be the mining and raw materials sector. Some 50% of all supply chain terrorism attacks hit these industries. With operations often found in remote locations, it is much easier for terrorists to target these firms.


The research cited an attack on a coal mine in the Xinjiang region in China, which led to 50 deaths, while in another example, in the Amazon rainforest, a rebel group forced 19 tanker trucks to stop and empty around 757,000 litres of crude oil onto the roads.


While the threat of attacks will always exist, to try and mitigate this procurement teams must constantly assess supply routes, identify vulnerable spots and make decisions to improve security or reroute goods.


If shipping and freight services are outsourced, there needs to be close cooperation between you and your supplier to ensure you are working together to close these vulnerabilities.


While this could increase costs or delivery times, the cost of doing nothing and leaving your supply chain open to constant attacks is no doubt greater and brings with it its own set of delays.


Outside of your own operations, it is important to work with either local, regional or national governments to ensure they are doing all they can to protect important trade routes too.


This is an issue that will affect how much investment is made in a country, so governments will have a real interest in ensuring such attacks don’t happen.


While the drawbacks of enhanced security measures are clear, the damage an attack can have on the business and the supply chain is significant and should, therefore, be considered as a priority to mitigate against.



Image: Yavuz Meyveci /


This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.

Rachel Sharp
Posted by Rachel Sharp

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