‘The Suez Canal blockade is a reminder that sea freight still keeps the global economy running—and leaders and consumers ignore it at their peril.’

Elizabeth Braw, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Commissioner with the National Preparedness Commission, writes in Foreign Policy (FP, 31 March 2021) that ‘…the canal’s weeklong standstill has opened the eyes of the worldwide public to the vulnerability of global shipping. Billions of people depend on each cog in the shipping process for their livelihoods—it involves everything from oranges to machinery to port workers and complex software organizing each step—but ignore the many vulnerabilities until something goes wrong.’

The incident is a useful reminder that many other mishaps can disrupt global shipping. It not just ‘The bigger the ships get, the bigger the risk’ but also physical and piracy attacks, GPS spoofing and other forms of cyber attack, and even the availability of sailors to man the vessels. ‘If the Kremlin really wanted to wreak havoc on the world, it could instruct Russian sailors to not turn up for work. China could, of course, order both its vessels and crews to stay home.’

The full article can be read here.

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