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Körber, the Hamburg, Germany, global supply chain technology leader from software to materials handling automation, on Sept. 1 announced the results of its “2020 State of Supply Chain Complexity” survey.

Among the top findings: Manufacturing and fulfillment complexities only continue to grow–and 91 percent of supply-chain professionals cannot stay ahead of these challenges.

More products, distribution channels, and customer expectations make supply chains more complex, according to Körber, which polled 1,200 global supply chain professionals to learn how they cope with supply chain complexity, how they feel their solutions stack up against the competition and how they’re managing the transition from manual to automated processes.

Technology integration and customer demand ranked among the top challenges today’s supply chain faces.

The issues respondents said most often contribute to their company’s supply chain complexity include:

-48% ‒ integrating and ensuring software, materials handling equipment (MHE), and technologies work together throughout the entire logistics ecosystem

-46% ‒ integrating functions across the supply chain – from manufacturing to end-customer deliveries

-46% ‒ meeting consumer expectations for speed, cost and adaptability

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents said senior executives view the supply chain as mission-critical–an important step in gaining support for upgrading warehouses and last-mile technology.

“Now isn’t the time for supply chains to break under pressure–yet, 48 percent of companies have experienced growth in complexity this past year,” said Rene Hermes, chief marketing officer for Körber Supply Chain. “It’s good to hear so many executives see this business area as mission-critical. Now we must transform that understanding into action.”

Access the 2020 State of Supply Chain Complexity Survey here:

dubai customs

Dubai Customs Announces First-Ever 24/7 Integrated Control System for Trade Security

Thanks to a unique blend of artificial intelligence, drones, a K9 unit, and a rapid intervention team, Dubai Customs has officially launched the first integrated control system in the world. This system has been termed as the “Siyaj (Fence) Initiative” and fully supports efforts against counterfeit trade shipments while progressing trade operations.

“We feel proud today that our borders are more secure and our trade is streamlined following the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” said HE Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

“This initiative is an embodiment of the team spirit and the honest efforts that everyone at Dubai Customs always strives to maintain. We hope this initiative adds up to our cumulative work in the field to maintain the leading position the UAE enjoys worldwide.”

The Siyaj initiative relies on regularly updated data to effectively deliver the level of security it was designed for. Among the features found within the Siyaj system include a vessel that tracks and controls ships prior to their arrival at the port,  inspection systems, and a set of cameras and devices for surveillance.

These features work in tandem with the rapid intervention teams for a faster, more reliable action turnaround time. The continued efforts further reiterate the success of Dubai Customs in halting counterfeit items and protecting the security of trade operations.

“Dubai Customs plays a vital role in thwarting smuggling of drugs and other illegitimate goods. In this regard, we cooperate and coordinate with the relevant authorities worldwide to intercept any suspicious or hazardous shipments before they enter the country.,” Director General of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih said.

“Customs authorities in the UAE made 4,450 customs seizures in 2019, and this initiative will cement the security efforts following the vision of Dubai Customs of becoming the leading customs organization worldwide supporting legitimate trade. We highly commend the efforts behind this leading initiative which will not only enhance the security of our borders but will also facilitate trade and supply chains.”


These Global Traders are Keeping Things Moving

Richard Jung has joined NFI as vice president of Sales. He brings the Camden, New Jersey-based supply chain solutions provider more than 30 years of international transportation experience at such concerns as Mitsui OSK Line, Maersk Lines, Crane Worldwide and Evergreen Line.

Dachser is used to moving things around, something that now extends to the Kempten, Germany-based global logistics provider’s top offices. CEO Bernhard Simon will step down in 2021 to head the family-owned company’s Supervisory Board. Burkhard Eling is slated to take Simon’s place as CEO on Jan. 1, 2021. Robert Erni, who will succeed Eling as CFO, begins his onboarding phase at Dachser on Sept. 1 as a deputy director.

Jessica Tyler has been named president of Cargo and vice president of Airport Excellence with American Airlines. She now leads the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s teams responsible for the success of the cargo business and delivering operational and customer service excellence for both airports and cargo.

Gonzalo Hernandez has moved to Seoul, South Korea, to become Delta Cargo’s general manager of Cargo Sales-Asia Pacific. Jonathan Corbi has replaced Hernandez as interim general manager for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region. Eric Anderson, who’d had the position in Seoul, returned to Delta’s Atlanta base to become director of Cargo Strategy, Alliances and Technology.

Jess Herrera, the longest serving commissioner at Port Hueneme (California), was recently received the 2020 Latino Leadership Award from the Pacific Coast Business Times, which also named the California port’s CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas as a Top Woman in Business.

Steven Polmans, director of Cargo & Logistics at Brussels Airport Co., has decided to make a career shift by the end of 2020. Over the next months, he will continue leading the European airport’s cargo business and retain his leadership functions at Air Cargo Belgium and The International Air Cargo Association.

Matthew R. Nicely has joined Akin Gump as a partner in its international trade practice in Washington, D.C. Nicely, who arrives from Hughes Hubbard & Reed, maintains a market access-focused practice centered on trade remedies and customs work as well as on disputes before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Scott Lincicome has joined the Cato Institute full-time as a senior fellow in economic studies, with a focus on international and domestic economic and trade policy. He began at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank in 1998 as a trade policy research assistant and previously worked as an international trade attorney with extensive experience in trade litigation before national agencies and courts, the European Commission and the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.



The Alliance for Trade Enforcement—a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of trade associations and business groups dedicated to ending unfair trade practices—submitted a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to coincide with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s July 8 visit to the White House.

President López Obrador met with President Trump and senior administration officials to commemorate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which entered into force that same day.

In the letter, AFTE commends Lighthizer for holding Canada and Mexico to the commitments outlined in USMCA, including the upholding of intellectual property protections, improving enforcement of Mexico’s anti-piracy strategy, and reducing barriers to the Canadian market for U.S. dairy farmers. But AFTE also urged the trade ambassador to continue working to eliminate unfair trade barriers that harm American companies and “workers in every industry, from manufacturing and agriculture to the biopharmaceutical and service sectors.”

“Our coalition looks forward to working with Ambassador Lighthizer to level the playing field between American businesses and our trading partners,” said AFTE Executive Director Brian Pomper.

risk management


The deadly spread of COVID-19, and the economic and trade disruption the pandemic has caused, is prompting port managers to examine new ways to improve risk management and digital processes.

Those are the conclusions in the latest biennial global ports survey conducted by Remy InfoSource, which was established in 2001 in the Netherlands to provide artificial intelligence diagnostic solutions to the high-tech and transportation industries. The lifecycle contract management specialist is now based on Australia.

The “2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey” was undertaken during the height of worldwide economic lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020 and on behalf of iSpec, the world’s leading web and mobile-based software procurement solution for buyers of capital intensive outsourced projects such as ports.

The survey revealed that 51 percent of port executive respondents now identify risk management as the key area they would like to improve on in the future, up from 32 percent in the previous iteration of the iSpec Ports Industry Survey in 2018. That year, the top two areas for improvements noted by ports and terminal executives were shorter lead times and more standardization.

“I think it’s no surprise that in such an uncertain world the importance of risk management has increased dramatically,” says Pieter Boshoff, CEO of Remy InfoSource. “Disruption to supply chains has increased across the globe causing operational and investment uncertainty and, with social distancing rules, also changing the way we all conduct our business.

“Managing that risk has become a major challenge at ports, particularly when it comes to managing outsourced equipment tender and procurement projects that are often complex in nature and frequently involve multiple vendors.”

Port operators represented 71 percent of the respondents to the 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey, up from 58 percent in 2018. More than two thirds of respondents are responsible for the procurement of quay cranes, reach stackers and trailers.

Asked how the COVID-19 lockdown had affected the way ports were conducting business, 41 percent of global respondents said the pandemic had required a shift to more digital collaboration, 49 percent said more projects were now on hold, and 62 percent said they were now working from home more often.

The 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey also found that “quality” has become the leading reason for customer/supplier disputes. In the 2018 survey, “delays” was cited most often as the cause of customer/supplier disputes.

“No matter what the business, the spread of coronavirus has forced executives to find new ways of conducting business and for the most part this means turning to digital solutions,” Boshoff explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is a trend that will accelerate in the future. It is becoming abundantly clear that for many businesses there are benefits and efficiencies in the new online and outsourced methods they have developed during the pandemic. I think many of the work processes adopted during lockdowns, particularly around communication, will outlast the coronavirus crisis and become part of our normal way of working.”



The U.S. Commercial Service in July opened the Rural Export Center (REC) in Fargo, North Dakota, to promote rural America’s exports and equip its companies with the research and resources to compete and win in the global marketplace.

“The Rural Export Center addresses the unique needs of rural American companies by providing in-depth market research and training designed specifically for them,” explained Ian Steff, assistant secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service.

“These companies are a crucial part of the continued growth of the American economy,” Steff continued, “and providing them with these essential, customized tools will help bolster their success in both the domestic and international markets and will increase U.S. exports worldwide.”

Companies from anywhere in rural America can request virtual consultations and assistance through the REC and many can apply grants from the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program toward REC services. Armed with REC research, the company then collaborates with their local U.S. Commercial Service Trade Specialist to implement plans and strategies informed by REC analysis.

“Together, they leverage the global network of U.S. Commercial Service offices located in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in more than 75 markets around the world,” states a U.S. Commercial Service press release.

big tech


A paper released in July by educational publisher Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung of Brussels examines how “big tech” corporations work to use “trade” rules to allegedly rig the global digital economy to collect more data, exercise more control over people’s lives and over their workers, and amass ever more profit.

“Digital Trade Rules: A Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy, By and for Big Tech” was written by Deborah James of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. She claims companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft work to secure new accords at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that would allow them greater access to, and ownership of, data with minimal restrictions.

“These proposed rules are a grave threat to development, human rights, labor, and shared prosperity around the world,” says James, who is executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based center’s International Programs. “They are the very antithesis of the type of policies we need to rein in the cancerous and untrammeled growth of the power of Big Tech.”

She writes that, “When it was founded in 1995, new agreements within the WTO gave rights to the dominant industries at that time, such as agriculture, finance, services, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. The technology industries lack such an agreement in the WTO and are seeking similar rules to these to liberalize the digitalization that is currently transforming the global economy, particularly the governance of today’s most valuable resource, which is data.”

Her report came as a group of 76 countries launched talks aimed at a digital trade agreement at the next WTO ministerial conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a WTO conference planned for June is Kazakhstan was postponed.

counterfeit goods

Dubai Customs Tackles Counterfeit Goods Issue with Sustainable Approach

Dubai Customs took piracy prevention and sustainable practices to a new level earlier this month when they recycled 1,906 counterfeit items including sports shoes, mobile headphones, and computers, according to a release from July 9th. This success represents one of many from Dubai Customs in addressing and putting a stop to the process of counterfeit goods in the region.

“The IPR Department works closely with different partners to curb counterfeiting in line with TRIPS agreement,” said Yousef Ozair Mubarak, Director of IPR Department. “The damage caused by counterfeit goods to the economy, environment, and even perhaps our overall quality of life should be something of a given for most people.”

“Perhaps Intellectual Property rights-holders are those most likely to feel the true pinch of this rogue industry, but when one considers the big picture it becomes clear that everyone is liable to be affected by counterfeiting and piracy,” he added.

Thanks to collaborative efforts between Color Code recycling company, CEO of Brand Owners’ Protection Group Malik Hanouf, and representatives from Air Cargo Centers Management, IPR Dispute Section, and External Relations Section, the items were successfully removed from further processing and used to support sustainable practices for the IPR Department at Dubai Customs.

“We take care of all information that helps us thwart all types of smuggling to protect our society from the hazards of illegitimate goods,” stated Shuaib Al Suwaidi, Director of Customs Intelligence Department. “Counterfeit goods are not welcome in Dubai and we work together with different partners to ensure they don’t enter the emirate.”

Photos provided by Dubai Customs



Every year, Landstar gives away a truck, including all registration fees and taxes, to a Million Mile Safe Driver independent owner-operator for the Jacksonville, Florida-based worldwide, asset-light provider of integrated transportation management solutions. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, July 8 was the first time the Landstar All-Star Truck Giveaway took place virtually, via Zoom video conferencing.

That did not dampen the excitement of Bobby Jordan, who a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia 126 at the 2020 Landstar All-Star Truck Giveaway sponsored by Pilot Flying J.

“Wow! Thank you very much,” said a very emotional Jordan, once he realized he’d won the giveaway truck. “Landstar has been good to me from the very beginning.” 

The Soso, Mississippi, resident had been one of four randomly drawn “Roadstar” finalists. Roadstar is Landstar’s highest honor for truck owner-operators deemed the “best of the best” based on their high levels of safety, productivity and excellence in customer service. 

Each finalist selected a box that they hoped contained the key to the giveaway truck. Jordan, who picked first, selected the box with the key that started his new viper blue Freightliner Cascadia with a suite of safety systems, fuel efficiency features, a Detroit DD15, 14.8-liter engine and a Detroit DT12 automated transmission. 



Despite the political turmoil gripping Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) welcomed HMM GDANSK, the world’s largest container vessel, on its July 12 maiden call to Hong Kong at Kwai Tsing Container Terminal 7.

HMM GDANSK , which is one of the twelve 24,000-TEU class of mega vessels of HMM Co., Ltd., the vessel features a length of 1,312 feet, a width of nearly 201 feet and a maximum capacity of 23,964 TEU. Since June, the vessel has operated THE Alliance Far East Europe 3 service that connects major ports in China, Asia and Europe.

“We are excited to welcome the world’s biggest vessel on its maiden call at such challenging times,” said Leonard Fung, managing director of Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), upon the HMM GDANSK’s arrival.

“This is a momentous event for Hong Kong’s maritime industry and HIT, signifying a vote of confidence in our offering and allowing us to capture future opportunities.”

The vessel is billed as being equipped with the world’s most advanced DS4 (DSME Smart Ship Platform), ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System), monitoring system and smart navigation system. In response to the new International Maritime Organization’s environmental regulations, HMM GDANSK has installed scrubbers to reduce its sulfur emissions.