Staying ahead of unpredictable weather

10th June 2024

Logistics BusinessStaying ahead of unpredictable weather

Weather is an unpredictable force that can wreak havoc on logistics in Europe, but there are strategies to mitigate its impact. As we navigate through the continent’s diverse and often harsh climates, it’s clear that we need a proactive approach to ensure our supply chains remain reliable and efficient.

Advanced Weather Forecasting and Planning

Investing in advanced weather forecasting tools is not just a smart move; it’s a necessity. Companies like DHL have shown the way by using sophisticated weather forecasting software to re-route deliveries and adjust schedules during severe weather. This proactive approach minimizes delays and ensures that packages still arrive on time, even when Mother Nature throws a curveball. It’s high time more logistics companies embrace this technology to stay one step ahead of the weather.

Infrastructure Improvements

We can’t control the weather, but we can control our infrastructure. Regular road maintenance, especially in areas prone to snow and ice, is crucial. Sweden’s investment in winter road maintenance, including regular snow plowing and de-icing, is a prime example of how to keep transport running smoothly during harsh winters. Germany’s post-2021 flood improvements in flood defenses and drainage systems show that learning from past weather events can lead to better preparedness. If more European countries followed suit, we’d see fewer disruptions and more resilient logistics networks.

Flexible Supply Chain Strategies

Flexibility in supply chain management is another key to weathering the storm. Diversifying suppliers and maintaining buffer stock can significantly reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions. During the 2018 “Beast from the East,” many European retailers avoided stockouts by having diversified suppliers and buffer stock in regional warehouses. This kind of forward-thinking approach should be the norm, not the exception, in the logistics industry.

Technology and Automation

Technology is our ally in the fight against weather-related disruptions. IoT devices that provide real-time tracking and automated warehousing systems can make a huge difference. Maersk’s use of IoT devices for real-time tracking helped them minimize delays during severe weather by enabling quick re-routing decisions. Amazon’s automated warehouses in Europe continued processing orders efficiently even during storms, thanks to their advanced systems. These examples show that investing in technology is a game-changer for logistics companies facing unpredictable weather.

Collaboration and Communication

Effective communication and collaboration between stakeholders are crucial for improving weather resilience. Cross-sector collaboration and keeping customers informed about potential delays help manage expectations and maintain trust. During severe winter storms in 2019, UK logistics companies collaborated with the government to clear highways, ensuring the continued flow of goods. In Spain, courier companies used SMS and email notifications to keep customers updated during storms, maintaining customer satisfaction despite delays. This level of transparency and cooperation should be standard practice in the logistics industry.

Sustainable Practices

Sustainable practices are not just good for the environment; they also help mitigate the impact of weather on logistics. Climate-resilient infrastructure and using electric vehicles improve reliability and reduce environmental impact. The Netherlands’ climate-resilient infrastructure has maintained logistics operations during severe weather. In Paris, logistics companies’ switch to electric delivery vans ensured efficient operations during fuel shortages caused by a snowstorm, as these vehicles were less affected by disruptions in fuel supply. Embracing sustainability is a win-win for logistics companies and the planet.


Mitigating the impact of weather on logistics in Europe requires a multifaceted approach. By investing in advanced forecasting, resilient infrastructure, flexible supply chains, technology, and effective communication, we can enhance our resilience to weather-related disruptions. As Europe faces more extreme weather, these strategies are essential for maintaining the smooth flow of goods, benefiting businesses and consumers alike. It’s time for the logistics industry to take weather seriously and implement these proactive measures to keep our supply chains running smoothly, no matter what the forecast says.

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