Texas A&M develops dashboard monitoring COVID-19 impact on domestic, foreign trade

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -Researchers with the Texas A&M University’s Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -Researchers with the Texas A&M University’s Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense team (CBTS) have teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a COVID-19 dashboard designed to predict COVID-19 threats to supply chains.

In 2019, Mexico surpassed China as the United States’ largest trading partner. As it relates to COVID-19, one of the dashboard functions is to monitor necessities that are used to make medical supplies, vaccines, and personal protection equipment needed during the pandemic.

The team says their goal is to diagnosis scenarios of social, economic, and environmental impacts posed by COVID-19 in the U.S. trade supply chain infrastructure. The dashboard has the capability to monitor multiple modes of transportation from an airplane, truck, boat, and train.

Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina is an associate professor at Texas A&M University School of Engineering. He says some of the program’s key focus included monitoring the supply chain risk in vaccinations, PPE, auto manufacturing, and agriculture.

“We wanted to identify any material that might be coming, let’s say from China, that will be shipped to India to be manufactured, and then sent to the United Kingdom to be packaged and then distributed to the United States just like a normal supply chain,” said Medina- Cetina. “We designed a platform that could facilitate the data integration that is needed to identify the risk and threats to any supply chain.”

Matt Cochran is the research director for the CBTS team and says said the goal of the dashboard is based on the need for risk-based decision-making in general supply chains and threat screenings.

“COVID-19 has kind of shined a light on a lot and brought into focus a lot of vulnerabilities that we have as a nation as it relates to supply chains,” said Cochran. “We have to take a strategic look at our risk and vulnerabilities in how we move goods, and that’s what we started to do. It’s not all about just movement and logistics. Sometimes it’s about raw materials, manufacturing, and just where something comes from. It’s about having the network of collaboration across the border to react to a pandemic and form a task force that can serve as an advisory group to make decisions to guide on the critical problems that we identify across the border.”

The team also publishes a monthly risk bulletin that provides scientific, technological, and strategic support to decision-makers when tracking needed resources.

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