The pandemic has stretched the concept of risk management as historically practiced by shippers and 3PLs.
"Traditional readiness and continuity planning focused on single events, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster, a port closure or a facility shutdown, and created plans to divert to alternative locations for short durations," wrote the report authors. "COVID-19 presented a multi-facility, multi-country shut down."
Despite some early declarations of force majeure, 3PLs in the survey reported less pandemic-related operational difficulties, and Thompson had a hypothesis as to why.
"3PLs have the benefit of sharing labor across their customers. Particularly when they have warehouses and operations in hub cities or when they have co-mingling or collocated various customers," she said.
Though 3PLs may be having a relatively easier time of hiring and operating than shippers, the operating environment is still challenging, and 3PLs may be struggling to handle the customer service side of things, according to shippers.