I am currently on a road-trip and holed-up in eastern Pennsylvania under a Blizzard Warning while the forecast 24+ inches of the white stuff is shutting down all trucker transportation (and the rest) for tens of millions in the northeast.
As I was driving today I knew of the forecast for a potential record setting March Blizzard to impact the northeast. Listening to the CB radio I heard the truckers talking about the coming storm and hearing how many (all?) of them were hunkering down somewhere until it blows over.
It occurred to me once again how the truckers deliver the life-blood of the things that we all need each and every day. Without that lifeline, most people would be proverbially screwed. Most people don’t know this, don’t appreciate this, and don’t understand the systemic risk of it all…
Earlier, I wrote “When The Trucks Stop, It’s Over” where I list some of the ramifications of a SHTF stoppage of trucking.
Today, as I experience the shutdown of transportation across a heavily populated region of the country, it struck me how very serious it would be – for even just a multiple day shutdown – given today’s just-in-time inventory management of almost EVERYTHING that you buy in stores.
While a winter blizzard may shut down transportation for a time until road crews are able to reopen routes of travel, it sure does exemplify what would happen if the trucks stop rolling (for whatever reason) for a longer period of time.
During the many hours of driving today, it was interesting (as it always is) to notice and identify the wide variety of loads that these truckers carry. Some are impossible to know due to the lack of identifiers. However other loads are in plain sight or are identifiable by their markings.
It doesn’t take long to realize how so much of what we consume and what industry consumes, is carried by way of truck across the roads of this country. While I know (and see) that many automobile drivers on the road with these truckers are ignorant to the fact that truck transportation is essential, I do realize this fact and my notion is reaffirmed each time I go out on a long road trip.
I am particularly attune to systemic risk (way more than most). This, in part, has led me to being more prepared than most. Most (of the mainstream masses) just assume that their needs will simply be continuously magically resupplied in the local stores where they buy them.
I know however, that it’s not magic, and I know how finely tuned the JIT systems are (for many/most supply chains). So far, this finely tuned system has managed to supply the masses with their needs, with only occasional hiccups along the way. I am keenly aware though of the incredibly disastrous consequences that would result from a long term breakdown of these systems – and although seemingly quite unlikely to occur, you just never know…
It is correct that it would take quite disastrous forces to impede the trucking infrastructure for an extended period of time, but I leave it up to you to evaluate your own risk-tolerance 😉
In the mean time, I’m glad that I have plenty of resources in my truck to make it through the blizzard… Maybe I’ll build a snowman 😉