How Dune is Now?

The sands of Dune seem to have swallowed up the feasibility of its supply chain rational.

Nothing stimulates old economies like a crisis, and in the volatile commodities markets, spice, despite surging prices, is in renewed demand.

Ongoing disruptions in supply chains following the controversial harvest management change on Arrakis, has left rival governments pointing the finger as tensions in the area showed no immediate signs of easing.

Accusations levelled at the Harkonnen by Atreides this week reignited a war of words between the rival houses as members of the Padishah executive council tried in vain to de-escalate a situation one insider, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said “regrettably had reached fever pitch”.

It follows a recent announcement made by House Atreides that it would undertake a comprehensive audit of the harvesting fleet it acquired through a “doomed” succession plan, as some economists have labelled it, decreed by an Emperor who controversially chose not to open the tender to market.

Bulk commodity producers condemned the “cartel activity” having claimed they were disadvantaged by the latest instance of bid rigging.

The Imperial Court could not be reached for comment.

In a statement, House Atreides took exception with the negligent maintenance scheduling of its predecessor which it singled out as the cause for accumulative delays as sagging production was further compounded by what it noted should have been “avoidable” downtime.

Extensive replacements required across the fleet are now on back order for Wormsign Spotters and Harvesting Crawlers, some of which were approaching 15 million working hours.

Meanwhile fleet management had no bolt-on solution for thousands of outstanding parts, many of which were still awaiting fulfillment, after repeated diagnostic errors were reported on hydraulic clamps used to secure the pressurised inflatables that were failing on the Carryalls at “an order of magnitude” per one source.

Extraction vehicles, in some cases, have been operational with concerning gaps in the refurbishment history that date back to when the Harkonnen began its spice stewardship nearly 80 years ago.

This is not the first time the Harkonnen global logistics division has been subject to criticism for its questionable operational practices. Its heavily industrialised home planet, Giedi Prime, is often a target of environmentalists for its failures in adhering to ESG compliance.

For its own part the Harkonnen returned fire claiming it was not encumbered by contractual obligations to sustain continuity of production and that all future R&M commitments were the responsibility of the current account holder whose lack of due diligence on the task, furthermore, failed to repudiate longstanding allegations made of [Atreides] that it “lacked for self-governance”.

Many in the Spacing Guild, who have the monopoly interest in interstellar travel, would appear to agree as it hiked prices again this week for offworld haulage pointing to inflationary pressures.

The blame it put squarely at the feet of House Atreides whose languishing returns and growing chorus of detractors had proven enough for some stakeholders who have finally run out of patience for the much-hyped joint venture with the Bene Gesserit Order.

As the sole spice mining operation on Arrakis, House Atriedes is learning first-hand of the vast operational challenges inherent on the remote planet.

The extreme conditions are merciless on equipment in addition to the presence of the indigenous Fremen, whose troubled co-existence with foreign resource interests continues to plague production.

At a minimum, Atreides will need to overhaul its disaster response plan in lieu of recent sandstorms and worm events.

Fleet renewal and the significant investments necessary to reboot spice production will be redistributed from other parts of the business at the risk of weakening its operational synergies.

Protective security services including cyber governance systems are already reportedly suffering from underfunding.

Though spice melange is still considered the key mineral used to fuel interstellar transport, the scarcity mindset informing the foreign policy of many governments has as much to do with the inability to adequately store, stage, and blend it. Untreated, spice has a limited shelf life.

Before it was appointed to replace the Harkonnen as the sole mining interest on Arrakis, House Atreides, given its growing military presence, should have been, according to critics of the transition first proposed by the Herald of the Change, subject to hefty trade tariffs, a move the Emperor was unwilling to make despite increasing public pressure.

Rising operational costs for the logistics, transportation and feeding of the the imperial private army,  according to one insider, remains a major drain on the treasury without a war to justify its disproportionate budget.

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