COVID-19 Logistics

Mission-critical shipment values are orders of magnitude higher than what have traditionally been called “high value” shipments. The categorization includes precious cargo whose failure to arrive on time and intact puts businesses in jeopardy, and, at their most critical, can be a matter of life and death. From life-saving drugs and organs for transplants to components for assembly lines or retail items that are essential to a manufacturers’ bottom line (and the sellers they do business with), mission critical shipments require critical thinking, planning and execution.

The logistics world has become a high-stakes arena that requires meticulous planning backed by real-time and actionable intel. Shippers must juggle everything from concerns about asset availability and precisely timed deliveries to finding providers that consistently meet stringent cold-chain and cargo condition requirements while adhering to documented systems and processes for preventing theft and pilferage.

Just one delivery gone wrong has the potential for massive negative financial and reputational impacts. For example, production shutdowns from damaged raw materials can have serious negative impacts on a manufacturer’s valuation and reputation , and even small quantities of tainted, counterfeited, substituted or otherwise compromised pharmaceutical or food product can lead to death or illness – igniting panic and a loss of public trust.

Consider the following:

  • According to a recent article in Transportation Technology, there was a 25% increase in full truckload thefts in the U.S. in 2020, as criminals targeted shipments of medical supplies and other valuable items
  • The same article states that U.S. pilferages increased by 35% in 2020, as some of the smaller criminal organizations targeted cargo at rest stops and in storage locations
  • The national reefer rejection index (ROTRI) topped 48% for the first time in late 2020 according to the FreightWaves tender rejection indexes
  • Entrepreneur magazine published an article claiming that the underworld market for medical products linked to Covid-19 increased by 400% just over the past year; a trend that was exacerbated by “poor visibility and transparency in the supply chain,” according to European Pharmaceutical Review
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 1 million people die annually from counterfeited drugs

If you’re in the business of mission-critical shipments, it’s critical that your carriers meet stringent requirements for on-time, in-full and intact delivery. Carriers must meet increasingly complex insurance requirements and share documented standards for quality management and risk mitigation. Their standards documentation should be audit-able include the following:

  • Processes for ensuring refer and other controlled environment assets maintain both ambient and specific temperatures, including pre-conditioning
  • Security practices for storage yards, driver and asset identity verification, remote vehicle disabling and systems for monitoring how and when trailers are opened or unlocked
  • Cargo monitoring equipment and controls (both remote and in the control of the driver)oDriver vetting criteria
  • Route risk requirements including restricted zones, checkpoints, recommended rest-stops and in-transit disruptions
  • Theft alert triggers and related actions
  • Redundancy safeguards for critical communication systems between account teams, drivers and shippers to ensure no loss of contact or records
  • Chain of custody documentation

Learn more about how DeSpir helps ensure the successful delivery of ultra-high-value freight. Download our white paper to learn about the five things you should expect from carriers transporting ultra-high-value and highly targeted cargo, including pharmaceuticals, cold chain, high-value electronics, financial assets and more.