Risk to supply chains crops up from all kinds of sources. It appears that hazardous materials were being stored in the warehouse complex. The port has been shut down because of problems with road access, as well as in the harbor.
3PLs Eye Alternatives Due To Severe Road Access Limits Following Tianjin Explosion – Supply Chain 24/7.
There’s no way to plan for this stuff. However, you can be flexible and have more than one route planned. Or you can place inventory elsewhere on the route to allow you to survive for longer, until the facility gets going again. So you have to think about risk in terms of alternate means at all times.
And how about supplier qualification? Should firms look more closely at all the facilities their 3PL chooses to use? Of course that would help, but it would also be hugely expensive. And you can bet the 3PL is not doing it, or not doing it the way you would, perhaps. I wonder if there will be an aftereffect of firms not wanting to go through this port because they feel the Chinese operators are not being policed closely enough for compliance with basic safety and operational rules.