Spotlight News 3/22/2016

Supply Chain Disruptions Expected After Authorities in Europe Increase Security Due to Terrorist Attacks in Brussels, Belgium

Delays to freight transport and other supply chain disruptions are expected as a result of increased security measures in Belgium and neighboring countries following multiple terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital this morning. Authorities canceled all flights, including cargo flights, to and from Brussels International Airport, and the airport will remain closed until tomorrow. Officials also suspended all international train traffic with Brussels and closed or recommend against travel on numerous major roadways throughout the city due to security operations. Citizens are encouraged to shelter in place over safety concerns, causing manufacturing facilities and other businesses to close.

Authorities in neighboring countries also increased security measures. Officials in France, the Netherlands, and Germany increased security controls at their respective land borders with Belgium. Authorities also increased the security presence at most major international transport hubs, including airport and train stations, in these countries and in the United Kingdom.

These new security measures come on top of border controls imposed in European countries due to the migrant crisis, exacerbating the impact of delays and other disruptions and creating significant added costs for shippers in the region.

Traffickers Attempt to Smuggle Helicopter Parts From Afghanistan to Pakistan

Law enforcement authorities in Nangarhar, Afghanistan seized an illicit shipment of spare parts for helicopters and armored vehicles from cargo containers in the province. A local source indicated the parts came from military equipment used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces stationed in the region. The smugglers intended to ship the contraband goods to Pakistan. Afghan authorities will return the seized parts to the capital, Kabul, and the Ministry of Defense launched an investigation into the smuggling attempt.

Residents of Village in Thailand Call for More Compensation From Rubber Factories Over Alleged Pollution

Residents of a village in Sikao District, located in Thailand’s southern Trang Province, called for more compensation from the owners of two nearby rubber factories over alleged environmental pollution in the area. The village residents claim that over the past two years, the factories discharged contaminated wastewater into natural waterways, damaging crops, and emitted dangerous air pollutants that caused village residents to suffer from chronic coughs, lung ailments, and asthma. The factories offered to pay about $145 in compensation for each case of illness and about $1,400 for each unit of rice crop damaged by the pollution. The residents rejected the offer and called instead for around $2,900 in compensation for each infraction. They also urged government officials to intervene to mediate the situation. The recent case of alleged factory pollution underscores the High BSI threat rating for the environment in Thailand.