Articles | Volume 5
30 May 2024
 | 30 May 2024

Spatio-temporal Spread of Disruptions in Interconnected Supply Networks

Matthias Winter and Johannes Scholz

Keywords: spatio-temporal analysis, supply chain disruptions, global shipping network

Abstract. The article investigates the spatio-temporal propagation of disruption effects in supply networks using shipment data from an international retailer during the year of 2021, marked by various disruptions in the global shipping industry. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the blockage of the Suez Canal caused significant disruptions, including congestion and temporary shutdowns of ports. The network effect of such disruptions is measured as network connectivity using node strength in a weighted graph. Analysis of the data reveals a decrease in mean traveling speed and an unexpected decrease in speed variation following the Suez Canal blockage. The impact of the typhoon in China, while notable, was less significant than that of port closures due to COVID-19, likely due to its shorter duration. Evaluation of the spatio-temporal spread indicates, that port shutdowns due to COVID affected some routes from Asia to Europe and Australia, while others remained unaffected, potentially due to company-specific factors or differing supply patterns in various destinations. Future research aims to extend the analysis to include hinterland transportation to distribution centers and stores, where clearer spatio-temporal patterns may emerge, potentially confirmed through tests for spatio-temporal autocorrelation.