Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Fragile Supply Chain

A couple day disruption in one pipeline and this is happening.


I guess I didn't even realize that a single pipeline provided one third of the gas to the East Coast. How has this pipeline never been targeted by terrorists? How hard would it be to blow that thing up? The best part of the story where I saw the above tweet was this line:

“I pulled in, I start pumping my gas and then I realized I put $80 worth in my truck,” another driver told 8News. “The lady next to me said she put $100 in her car. She just started crying because she said her car don’t take that much.”

Her car don't take that much? When did we start to rate vehicle fuel capacity in dollars instead of gallons? Do we say "My new Honda gets 26 miles to the dollar"? Gah...

Anyway, thanks to the sudden supply disruption, prices spiked and people started hoarding. This led to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission tweeting out this handy information:


This was in response to pictures of people actually filling plastic bags with gasoline, along with all sorts of other containers. I am sure a plastic grocery bag will safely and securely hold a couple gallons of gas indefinitely without dissolving or evaporating. How do these people think they will get the gas from the bag into the car? 

I have said it before but here I am saying it again: our just in time supply chain is incredibly fragile and prone to failing when there is any sort of disruption. Toilet paper, ammo, lumber, gas. These aren't minor things. What happens when the disruption is more widespread and serious than some hackers messing around?

How will you change your behavior realizing that this could happen (or is happening) in your area of operations? 

8 comments:

  1. I don't know where that is, but whoever the owner is, he has some 'splainin' to do.

    In our state (SC), where we now have a declared state of emergency, it is against the law to price gouge. I left a job yesterday and drove for 40 miles before I was able to get gas...@ 2.69 a gallon. I stopped at one gas station on the way where I saw a bunch of people getting gas and it must have been sucking the bottom of the tank because the person I talked to said she'd been pumping gas for five minutes and only had .93 cents worth.

    It's ugly out there.

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    1. Yikes, here in Indiana the prices haven't moved in days but stations like Sam's Club which tend to have lower prices were very busy mid-day.

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  2. Sal Mercogliano a merchant marine who is now a professor and posts on Youtube says the pipeline runs just outside his house in North Carolina and is not protected.

    I am not sure how you protect a pipeline but cameras will not work.

    Joe

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    1. I don't think you can, which is pretty scary. The shutdown the Keystone XL but we already have thousands of miles of pipelines that are wide open with basically no problems.

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  3. I am always amazed that people don't have 10 or 20 gallons of fuel on hand in addition to keeping there tanks full.
    Sucks to be unprepared.
    It will go on and on.

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    1. We try to keep our main vehicles fueled up and our backup vehicles also fueled up, we don't want to be caught with no way to get around.

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  4. I learned in Iraq -just how fragile- it is when I was running the convoys for KBR for a while... at one point in 2004, -all- the roads going to and from Baghdad got shut down due to out-of-control IEDs and attacks... At VBC we ran out of the lil plastic forks/knife/spoon packets that we used in the chow hall, and eventually we ended up on 2X MREs a day, with like no fresh cooked grub for a few weeks...even water got rationed at one point, 2X bottles of 1.5 liters per person per day, because that was BEFORE they had the ROWPU up and running... good times, good times.

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    1. Reminds me of all the urban White liberals who scoff at the idea of an American civil insurgency against the mighty U.S. military. A bunch of goat humpers in Iraq managed to hurt us again and again. Imagine Americans with 400 million firearms.

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