Managing risk for antagonistic threats against transport network
Doctoral thesis, 2009
The World Trade Centre terror attack in 2001 changed the world and with it the conditions for logistics worldwide. The aftermath of the attack brought needed attention to the vulnerability of modern supply chains. This thesis addresses the antagonistic threats that exploit the vulnerability in a supply chain. Antagonistic threats are a limited array of risks and uncertainties and can be addressed with risk management tools and strategies. There are three key demarcations between antagonistic threats and other risks and uncertainties: deliberate (caused), illegal (defined by law), and hostile (negative impact, in this thesis, for transport network activities). This thesis makes a theoretical contribution to the usage of theories from criminology in supply chain risk management to handle antagonistic threats against the transport network. The recognition that antagonistic threats toward the transport network are a problem leads to verification of the research questions from the background and the theoretical framework. This is done to place or relate the research questions closer to the context. Furthermore, it leads to the conclusion that the answers may or may not contain competing and/or incompatible parts which differ depending on the perspective or viewpoint at the moment. One of the most important things to understand is that antagonistic threats toward freight always have been a feature in both business and politics. The different functions and goals for all stakeholders mean that all stakeholders and actors may use similar methods to manage antagonistic threats but the effects and consequences will change according to the circumstances.
The system approach in this thesis is a soft-system thinking where reality is described in subjective terms and the whole system has the distinctive trait of vague or undefined boundaries between system components and the surrounding environment. Therefore, this thesis uses a complex system approach in which paradoxes and bounded rationality describes the system’s behaviour. This thesis defines the legal descriptions and criminal threats against and within supply chain management activities that entail both the systems context and boundaries. Managing of the antagonistic threats through the risk management perspective is separated into two sides, pre-event and post-event measures, which means the system needs to be robust and resilient, using logistics terms. It should be robust to automatically handle small risks (normally with high likelihood and low impact). The system also needs resilience in order to adapt, improvise, and overcome any disturbance greater than the system’s robustness can handle. Both robustness and its resilience can constitute of the full range of prevention, mitigation, and transferring tools and methods. Regardless of which perspective or viewpoint is chosen for analysing the problem, the same basic set of tools and methods are valid, but in practical use they need to be adapted to the actors’ needs and wants for managing their exposure to antagonistic threats