Geopolitical Supply Chain Rundown – May 14th, 2021

Cyberattack targets U.S. pipelines

A ransomware attack over the weekend forced Colonial Pipeline, one U.S biggest fuel pipeline operators, to shut down the bulk of a major fuel artery connecting refineries in Texas to the East Coast. Some 2.5 million barrels of petroleum products per day – around 45 percent of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel – moves through the network. Wondering what a ransomware attack is? A ransomware attack is a cyber-attack using malware that encrypts the victim’s files and requires users to pay a ransom to decrypt the files.

You may be wondering why the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack matters a lot. As shown in the company’s operations map, by taking out the systems supporting and managing pipeline operation and fuel distribution, vast swathes of the US have been impacted. The sustained shutdown of operations pushed up petrol prices a bit 

Although officials have set up to investigate a group of cybercriminals operating mostly out of Eastern Europe and Central Asia which are the main suspects. Agencies have also become involved in mitigating the risk. To keep supplies flowing, the USDOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Regional Emergency Declaration on Sunday 9, easing standard restrictions on the land transport of fuel and the permissible working hours of drivers.

I mentioned earlier that the tactics used in cyberattacks are classic and are nothing we have not seen before. The script is the same – attack the most vulnerable part of the system, which is the supply or logistics train in many militaries. Cut off the supply route, attack the re-supply trains because they are weak links. The same tactic is playing out in the cyber-attacks. The supply chain management framework has historically been weak, and it’s always a point of vulnerability for most organizations. Supply chain and risk management professionals must make better efforts to strengthen their cybersecurity posture to reduce their exposure to these types of threats and avoid future occurrences.

If you are looking for a thorough guide on the intersection between geopolitics, supply chain,  international trade, and cybersecurity this guide is the best!

Dealing with Shortage in the World

The COVID-19 crisis might be winding down for much of the world but as it does, another problem is popping up – the shortage of resources. This could easily turn into another crisis. 

The shortage of chips caused by friction in the production process, along with a significant increase in demand for microchips for a range of products, including automobiles and computers.

In the United States, there is a shortage of chickens said to be developing due to increased demand and a lack of workers. There is a shortage of copper, the price of which is surging, due to increased demand and decreased supply. There is a shortage of plastics that seems to have originated in the testing and production of the COVID-19 vaccine. There is also a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S., and a looming shortage of gasoline. 

At the forefront of all these is a core underlying theme: the rules promulgated to fight COVID-19 affected the physical production and delivery of goods. 

More than ever before, supply chain experts and governments have to address a problem they are perhaps not used to a lack of supply. This means that they have to rise to the challenge to ensure that global supply chains are not broken down, and further economic disruptions are mitigated. 


Israel-Gaza Violence Deepens

The U.N. says a full-scale war may break out as the deadly exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military keeps escalating significantly.

Tensions have been rising in the city for weeks. Reports say that some 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel overnight, according to Israel Defense Forces. Israel’s missile defenses reportedly intercepted dozens of the rockets, and Israel carried out retaliatory strikes on about 130 targets in Gaza.

The Gaza health ministry said 87 people, including 18 children and eight women, have been killed and 530 others wounded. Aside from the heavy pressure hospitals in Gaza, Palestine, are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis is further straining hospitals that are already cracking under the weight. 

But the disruption is not only in the health sector, Gaza’s already-fragile economy is also beginning to suffer heavily. 

It was projected that a return to violence would have profoundly negative economic consequences for both Palestinians and Israelis; per capita, the gross domestic product would fall by 46 percent in the West Bank and Gaza and by 10 percent in Israel by 2024.

Amid fears the violence could spiral further out of control, Washington plans to send an envoy, Hady Amr, for talks with Israel and Palestinians. U.S. President Joe Biden said he hoped the fighting “will be closing down sooner than later.” A British minister also urged Israel and Hamas to “take a step back” from the escalation.

If this war can be ceased, both countries will be saving more than their economy – they will be securing the future of their countries. 


Source- Geopolitical Futures.

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