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WFH? Here’s How to Manage your Ecommerce Order Deliveries Successfully.

order

WFH? Here’s How to Manage your Ecommerce Order Deliveries Successfully.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has turned the whole world upside down. No one is sure about anything anymore. And that scares us. Luckily, the culture of remote working has been catching on. There are a gazillion tools that help you get rid of the snags of WFH. Regardless, managing your team as an ecommerce business owner remotely is no joke. Especially during a time when you cannot afford to lose business or customers.

Here’s a cheat sheet to stay on top of your orders in the age of social distancing.

1. Real-time shipment monitoring: The good news is that there is a greater push for shopping online. More and more customers are seeking comfort in the ease of ordering products online. In the US, there has been a surge in the ecommerce order volume for health and beauty products. The real challenge is staying on top of order fulfillment. You need a unified portal that tracks and monitors your packages in real-time. While your logistics team may be efficient, it is prudent to have visibility into shipment details. A real-time shipment tracking system that feeds you with the total shipments, total deliveries, potential delivery exceptions for every single day at all times. A real-time tracker is a great way to oversee your team’s order fulfillment efficiency with zero manual intervention.

2. Real-time Delivery updates: Your customers are anxious about their orders. More than ever before. If you see a sharp rise in the “ Where is my order” calls to customer support, rest assured, it is the new normal. Instead of overburdening your lean support team, send delivery updates to your customer proactively. Inform your customers of the order location. Auto-set triggers to initiate notification for any change in the shipment transit activity. Your customer stays in the know of the order shipment status at all times.

3. Custom exception notifications: Delivery exceptions are a downer. Lost, delays, damages can ruin your customer’s delivery experience. When left unattended, a bad delivery experience could quickly spiral out of control. To salvage this situation, act immediately. Whenever your real-time tracker notifies you of a potential disaster, come clean and inform your customer.

“Hey Mike. We regret to inform you that your order [ tracking# 887676756454] is experiencing a delay. But we assure you that we are working with our shipping partner to get the order to you at the earliest. Thanks”

Surprisingly, buyers are quite understanding and more cooperative once they are informed of any issue beforehand. In fact, your customers appreciate your transparency.

4. Carrier performance monitoring: When your business is fulfilling orders using more than one shipping carrier, how do you evaluate them. Even global carriers such as FedEx, UPS or DHL have their share of strengths and weaknesses. How do you play to the carrier’s strength so as to benefit the most? Easy. Measure their on-time delivery performances. Categorize their OTD across different zones, different days of the week and different package dimensions. Or simply plug into an Audit tool that can generate all this for you.

5. Cost-saving recommendations: Companies across the world are laying off employees. There is a huge drive for cost-cutting across organizations. Brick and Mortar stores are brainstorming ways to omnichannelise their user experience. The least you can do as an ecommerce business owner is to audit your shipping invoices. If you have not automated your auditing process yet, time to reconsider. An in-depth invoice audit not only results in instant savings on your shipping costs by disputing service and billing errors, but they also unearth strategies to optimize your shipping spend. The need of the hour is to shave away all the payment excesses and billing overcharges.

AuditShipment is an automated invoice audit service that identifies more than 50 carrier errors across vendors, disputes billing errors, validate tariff rate against SLA and offers benchmark discount reports. They also help get you refunds on late shipments from vendors like UPS, FedEx, etc. In addition to offering post-order fulfillment audits, our advanced technology also offers real-time shipment tracking and custom delivery notifications. With AuditShipment, stay on top of your orders at all times.

cargo

GLOBAL CARGO IS LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, airlines have seen a precipitous drop in passenger travel and are focused on the possibility of a voluntary or mandated halt to U.S. passenger flights. In response, major carriers are finding ways to keep flying during the global health crisis.

American Airlines and United Airlines, for example, have offered their passenger aircraft for charter cargo flights. Even in normal times, the lower deck of passenger aircraft carries cargo to maximize the utilization of space. With the sharp scale-back in passenger travel, however, the companies are offering dedicated cargo runs to deploy their assets and replace revenue while helping to keep supply chains moving and facilitate the shipment of essential goods.

Attention All Passengers:

Many air travelers don’t realize that it’s not just their own and fellow travelers’ luggage that checked in for their flights. The big passenger airlines generally have a lot of available space in their bellies. With operating costs covered by passenger tickets, the airlines often generate supplemental revenue by carrying packages, freight or mail for the U.S. postal service on board passenger flights.

In turn, cargo shippers secure relatively cheap space and can get goods close to their ultimate destination given the dense network of airports serving passenger flights around the world. Even logistics players like UPS and FedEx partner with passenger airlines, particularly in emerging markets where trade volumes may not justify the deployment of their own regularly-scheduled aircraft. Technology tools enable precise coordination to ensure goods off-loaded from a freighter aircraft make their departure on a passenger aircraft and vice versa.

Cargo split

The trend is taking off. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been cited as estimating the split between cargo carried by passenger airlines and freighter aircraft at 60/40 and forecasts that will grow to 70/30 in the coming years.

In 2018, American Airlines moved 2 billion pounds of cargo and raised $1 billion of cargo revenue despite not operating cargo aircraft. Airlines based in Asia such as Korean Air and Cathay Pacific do have freight fleets, but still carry more than half of their cargo in the bellies of passenger aircraft. McKinsey has noted that with the expansion of the major Middle Eastern passenger carriers and new aircraft designs with large belly-cargo configurations, the belly capacity of Middle Eastern carriers flying into Europe in 2016 equaled the capacity of more than 100 weekly Boeing 777 freighter flights.

Open Skies

“Open Skies” agreements governing the transport of people, pallets and packages are designed to enable market forces to guide decision-making about routes, capacity, and pricing. Critically, Open Skies agreements also provide both passenger and cargo flights unlimited market access to partner markets and the right to fly to all intermediate and beyond points. The United States now has Open Skies agreements with over 100 partners around the world, including both bilateral agreements and two multilateral accords. So-called fifth freedom rights – also called beyond rights – are a core element of Open Skies agreements, permitting a carrier to fly to a second country, offload passengers and cargo, pick up new passengers and cargo, and continue on to a third country.

Over 100 Open Skies

While Open Skies agreements provide benefits to both passenger and cargo carriers, cargo carriers to a large extent fly international packages and freight themselves, while passenger carriers utilize codeshare agreements and worldwide alliances. The different business models and complex tie-ups can produce a divergence in interests. A prominent example was the dispute between the “Big Three” U.S. passenger carriers – American, Delta, and United – and the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, who the carriers alleged were providing billions of dollars in subsidies and other benefits to their state-owned carriers: Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways. Among other serious concerns, this raised red flags about subsidized fifth freedom operations (e.g., Newark-Athens-Dubai) and the potential for their expansion, negatively impacting U.S. passenger airline service to the Middle East and India.

U.S. Airlines for Open Skies, a coalition that included FedEx, Atlas Air, the Cargo Airline Association and JetBlue (which has a code-sharing agreement with Emirates), opposed the call of the Big Three for restricted Gulf fifth freedom rights (a violation of the U.S.-UAE and U.S.-Qatar Open Skies agreements if restricted involuntarily). The cargo carriers expressed concern that challenges to the Open Skies accords with Qatar and the UAE put at risk the fifth freedom rights that cargo carriers depend on for their complex global networks. They discounted the view that the U.S. could breach passenger fifth freedom rights without setting a dangerous precedent for the equivalent all-cargo rights.

The dispute was ultimately resolved in 2018 through U.S. government agreements with the Qatar and UAE governments under which the parties acknowledged that government subsidies adversely affect competition and committed to financial transparency and business on commercial terms.

Air Cargo Players

In the Upright Position for Takeoff

As passenger carriers step up to support cargo at this extraordinary time, you may not know that from 1997-2001, UPS also ran passenger operations. For a period of years, the company had contracts with tour companies and cruise lines to offer vacation flights as well as charters for college and pro sports teams, politicians, the press corps and others. In under four hours, a 727-100QC could be ready to carry 113 passengers. See here for the UPS Quick Change process.

Air cargo capacity is critical at this time of crisis and the airlines’ role is deemed a critical infrastructure industry by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). American Airlines reports that its recent cargo-only charter carried medical supplies, mail for active U.S. military, and telecommunications equipment and electronics to support people working from home. United’s wide-body charter cargo flights are likewise getting critical goods into the hands of businesses and people in need. Stakeholders across the cargo and passenger industries look forward to a post-pandemic era where all can return to their respective roles in transporting people and cargo globally, described well by United’s slogan “Connecting People. Uniting the World.”

_____________________________________________________________

Leslie Griffin is Principal of Boston-based Allinea LLC. She was previously Senior Vice President for International Public Policy for UPS and is a past president of the Association of Women in International Trade in Washington, D.C.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

eaglerail

THE EAGLERAIL HAS LANDED: CEO MIKE WYCHOCKI PUSHES A “NO BRAINER” WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING SHIPPING CONTAINERS AT CONGESTED PORTS

It’s amazing where new logistics solutions come from. They are usually born by veteran shippers with visions on how to improve an existing operation. Or it can be a customer or customers seeking help in conquering a specific challenge that eventually resonates throughout the industry.

Then there is the inception of Chicago-based EagleRail Container Logistics’ signature solution. It can be traced to a pitch meeting for a new monorail in Brazil that was attended by a port authority official who was there more as a cheerleader than a participant.

Watching a Chicago marketing man’s PowerPoint presentation about his company’s passenger monorail system to local leaders in São Paulo eight years ago, the port representative, Jose Newton Gama, marveled at how the magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains holding people would be suspended under overhead tracks.

Then the Brazilian known by friends as Newton raised his hand.

“Excuse me?” he asked the Americano. “Could your system be adapted to hold shipping containers?”

That had never occurred to project designers, whose monorail cars for passengers are much lighter than would be required for cargo containers hauled by ships, trucks and freight trains. But the marketing man shared Gama’s question with his colleagues in the Windy City, and that planted the seed that eventually bore EagleRail Container Logistics.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Wychocki was an early investor who eventually bought out that marketing man, but the first EagleRail system is named “Newton” after the Brazilian who now sits on the company’s board of advisors. “He’s a great guy,” says Wychocki during a recent phone interview. “Newton is our biggest cheerleader.”

Wychocki’s no slouch with the pom-poms himself, having pitched EagleRail at 40 ports in 20 countries over the past five years. His company, which has offices around the world, is developing its first prototype in China, and studies are underway at six ports as EagleRail sets about raising $20 million in capital. (The window for small investments had just closed when Wychocki was interviewed. His company has since shifted its focus to large investors.)

The way ports have operated for decades left no need for a system like EagleRail’s. Big ships dock, cranes remove containers stacked on their decks and each box is then moved onto the back of a flatbed truck that either hauls it to a distribution center or an intermodal yard. Until recent years, no one really thought of disrupting the process because, as Wychocki puts it, “you could always find cheaper truck drivers.”

However, truck driver shortages, port-area air pollution and congestion caused by the time it takes to load and unload ever-larger ships have prompted serious soul searching when it comes to short hauls. Expanding the size of ports is often not an option due to the cities that have grown to surround them. This has led to the creation of large container parks for trucks and/or freight trains within a few miles of ports, but getting boxes to those remains problematic—at a time when megaships are only making matters more difficult.

“There is an old saying that ports are where old trucks go to die,” says Wychocki, who ticks off as problems associated with that mode of moving containers pollution, maintenance and fuel costs, as well as the issues of public safety because some drivers essentially live inside of their vehicles, which can attract prostitution and leave behind litter and human waste. Adding even more of these dirty trucks would necessitate more road building, which only adds to environmental concerns.

With ground space at ports a constantly shrinking commodity, tunneling underground may be viewed as an option. But Wychocki points out that many ports have emerged on unstable ground like backfill, and water, power and sewer lines are usually below what’s under the streets beyond port gates. The idea of a hyperloop has been bandied about, but it would require emptying shipping containers at the port, loading the contents into smaller boxes, sending those through to another yard, and then repacking the shipping containers on the other side. “That defeats the whole point” of relieving port congestion, the EagleRail CEO says.

Ah, but every port has unused air space, which is what Wychocki’s company seeks to exploit. “If an Amazon warehouse can lift and shuttle packages robotically,” he says, “why not do the same with a 60,000-pound package? Go to a warehouse. See how Amazon works with packages. They use overhead light rails. It’s an obvious idea, so obvious. It’s a no brainer when you think about it.”

Yes, Amazon also uses drones, but can you imagine the size it would have to be to carry a 60,000-pound shipping container? Wychocki sees a suspended container track as an extension of the cranes on every loading dock worldwide, which is why EagleRail systems are also all-electric and composed of the same crane hardware to avoid snags when it comes to replacing parts.

However, Wychocki is quick to note EagleRail is not a total solution when it comes to port congestion. He calculates that among the short-haul trucks leaving a port, 50 percent are going to 500 different locations, many of which are different states away, while the other half is bound for just a couple nearby destinations. EagleRail is geared toward the latter, and the problem with getting containers to them “is not technological; it’s who controls the five kilometers between the port and the intermodal facility,” he says.

Lifting equipment at ports “is exactly the same in all 200 countries,” he adds. “The part that is not the same is the back end. What is the port’s configuration? Where do the roads come in? What we do is form a consortium and build it with each local player, such as the port authority, the road authority, the national rail company, the power company. Getting everyone involved helps get procurement and environmental rights of way.”

He concedes that getting everyone on board “varies by location,” but when it comes to environmental concerns “everyone’s kind of wanting to do this because it means fewer trucks, and the power companies would prefer the use of electricity (over burning diesel). It sounds harder than it is to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”

Wychocki points to another bonus with EagleRail: It allows for total control of one’s intermodal yard because containers come and go on the same circular route—all day long. “We take this on as a disruptive business model,” he says, noting that short-haul trucks generally involve the use of data-chain-breaking clipboards and mobile phones. EagleRail systems track containers on them in real-time, rolling in all customs paperwork and billing invoices automatically.

“It’s amazing, I just came from the Port of Rotterdam, where I was a keynote,” Wychocki says. “Even the biggest ports in the world like Antwerp were saying, ‘This is great. Why isn’t anyone else doing it?’”

Actually, EagleRail accidentally created direct competition. Wychocki explains that during the initial design phase, his company worked with a foreign monorail concern whose cars used what were essentially aircraft tires rolling inside a closed channel. Concerns about maintaining a system that would invariably involve frequently changing tires—and thus slowing down operations—caused EagleRail to reject that design in favor of another third-party’s calling for steel-on-steel wheels. The designer with tires is pressing on with its own system and without EagleRail.

“I’m glad we didn’t go that route,” says Wychocki, who nonetheless expects more serious competition once EagleRail systems are up and running. Fortunately for the company, there are plenty of ports bursting at the seams that cannot wait that long. Wychocki says a question he invariably gets after pitching EagleRail is: “Where were you 10 years ago? Usually, there is an urgency.”

That’s why “our goal was to get out of the gate fast, build market share and our brand and create a quasi-franchise network,” says Wychocki, whose business model has EagleRail owning 25 percent of a system while the port and other local entities own the rest.

He estimates that within 10 years, 12 EagleRail systems will be operating. If that sounds like a pipe dream, consider that his company’s newsletter boasts 3,000 subscribers before a system is even up and running. Wychocki does not credit “brilliant marketing” for that keen interest. “It’s because every port’s problems are getting worse. Everyone is squealing about what to do with these giant ships that cannot be unloaded fast enough. They are desperate.”

businesses

How Businesses can Weather COVID-19: Start with Empathy to Employees

Major U.S. businesses are adjusting operations, laying off employees or reducing hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s uncharted territory for the nation, and companies from large brands to small businesses, like everyone else, are operating without a playbook to deal with an unprecedented public health threat that will also have economic implications. How businesses adjust to the pandemic and respond to this “new normal” is critical to the future of their business.

“The most important part is showing empathy to employees – now more than ever in these uncertain times,” says Ed Mitzen (www.edmitzen.com), founder of a health and wellness marketing agency and ForbesBook author of More Than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance.

“While every company is dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to keep in mind that your employees are being affected in more ways than one. Added challenges to daily life now include your partner working next to you, your children being home from school, and having to keep an extra close eye on elderly relatives. In these unusual circumstances, people will notice which companies are treating their employees with empathy and compassion and which are not.”

A business leader’s response during a time like this defines who they are as a leader.

Mitzen thinks this challenging time could be used by business owners to assess their company culture and consider that how they treat employees is central to that culture and vital for business results. He explains how leaders can show empathy to employees, strengthen company culture and drive performance:

Lead with support, not force. “Culture starts at the top, and the best results come when leaders support their people and help them get the most out of life, rather than trying to squeeze them to work harder and harder,” Mitzen says. “People can sacrifice for the job for only so long before they burn out. It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes prioritizing life over work actually improves the work product. Once you hire good people, you don’t have to push them with crazy deadlines to squeeze productivity out of them.”

Build a team of caring people. “Business is a team sport,” Mitzen says. “To have an empathetic culture, you need people who care for each other and work well together. Build teams by looking for people who lead with empathy.  Don’t hire jerks. People who are super-talented but can’t get along with others tend to destroy the team dynamics, and the work product suffers.”

Define a positive culture – and the work. Showing empathy to employees can be an engine generating creativity and productivity. “The internal culture at a company defines the work the company produces,” Mitzen says. “Culture influences who chooses to work for you, how long they stay, and the quality of work they do. And the core of the culture is empathy, starting with employees and extending to customers and the communities that you live in. There’s a strong connection between a healthy work culture, which inspires people, and the work customers are receiving. That kind of company makes sure customers are treated the same way they are being treated.”

“Now more than ever, empathy, kindness and compassion are important values to keep at the forefront of your organization,” Mitzen says. “Business leaders can take the lead in doing the right thing, starting with their employees.”

_________________________________________________________

Ed Mitzen (www.edmitzen.com) is the ForbesBook author of More Than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance and the founder of Fingerpaint, an independent advertising agency grossing $60 million in revenue. A health and wellness marketing entrepreneur for 25 years, Mitzen also built successful firms CHS and Palio Communications. Fingerpaint has been included on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for seven straight years and garnered agency of the year nominations and wins from MM&M, Med Ad News, and PM360. Mitzen was named Industry Person of the Year by Med Ad News in 2016 and a top boss by Digiday in 2017. A graduate of Syracuse University with an MBA from the University of Rochester, Mitzen has written for Fortune, Forbes, HuffPost, and the Wall Street Journal.

nominations

Global Trade Magazine Accepting “Women in Logistics” Nominations

Global Trade Magazine officially opened nominations for its May/June cover story, “Women in Logistics” beginning this week through the end of March. This marks the publication’s second annual feature spotlighting leading female executives reshaping the way companies approach industry disruptions. The ideal candidate has a proven track record of creating long-term solutions impacting various sectors including transportation, warehousing, shipping, and supply chain management.

“As we continue to see a rise in female leaders within the logistics industry, I wanted to take recognition to the next level for female executives fostering positive company culture while displaying exemplary leadership all industry players can learn from,” said Eric Kleinsorge, Publisher and Chairman of Global Trade Magazine. “Last year’s cover story was a huge success. We received a lot of positive feedback from our readers and we’ve already received impressive nominations for this year’s feature.”

Among leading ladies featured in the 2019 issue included Joan Smemoe of RailInc., Jane Kennedy Greene of Kenco, Wendy Buxton of LynnCo Supply Chain Solutions, and Barbara Yeninas and Lisa Aurichio of BSYA. This year’s selected nominees will be selected based on factors including tenure, industry relevance, impact on the industry, the health of relationships with employees, with a high emphasis on their workplace culture approach. Nominations will be limited to one executive per submission and participants can enter their executive of choice until March 31st at 5 p.m.

“I encourage workers from around the globe to take a few minutes and submit female leaders that have changed the way they view leadership and have made a positive impact on their career and industry. It’s important to the evolving culture of global companies to recognize these women for their dedication to the industry and the workers that make success possible,” Kleinsorge concluded.

To submit a nomination, please click here or call (469) 778-2606 for more information. 

turkey

Germany, Spain, and Poland Are the Largest Markets for Preserved Turkey Meat in the EU

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Prepared Or Preserved Meat Or Offal Of Turkeys – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the preserved turkey market in the European Union amounted to $2.3B in 2018, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Over the period under review, preserved turkey consumption, however, continues to indicate a mild drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2011 with an increase of 12% y-o-y. The level of preserved turkey consumption peaked at $2.7B in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, consumption failed to regain its momentum.

Consumption By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of preserved turkey consumption in 2018 were Germany (124K tonnes), Spain (88K tonnes) and Poland (57K tonnes), with a combined 54% share of total consumption. These countries were followed by France, the UK, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Bulgaria, which together accounted for a further 35%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Hungary, while preserved turkey consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Germany ($572M), Spain ($353M) and France ($287M) constituted the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2018, with a combined 54% share of the total market. These countries were followed by Poland, the UK, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Netherlands, which together accounted for a further 35%.

The countries with the highest levels of preserved turkey per capita consumption in 2018 were Greece (2,075 kg per 1000 persons), Spain (1,887 kg per 1000 persons) and Germany (1,512 kg per 1000 persons).

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Hungary, while preserved turkey per capita consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Market Forecast to 2030

Driven by increasing demand for preserved turkey in the European Union, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to accelerate, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.6% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 598K tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production in the EU

The preserved turkey production totaled 512K tonnes in 2018, dropping by -4.6% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed in certain years. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 with an increase of 8.1% year-to-year. In that year, preserved turkey production attained its peak volume of 537K tonnes, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, preserved turkey production amounted to $2.2B in 2018 estimated in export prices. Over the period under review, preserved turkey production, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2011 with an increase of 17% year-to-year. In that year, preserved turkey production attained its peak level of $2.6B. From 2012 to 2018, preserved turkey production growth remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of preserved turkey production in 2018 were Germany (129K tonnes), Spain (89K tonnes) and Poland (69K tonnes), with a combined 56% share of total production.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Germany, while preserved turkey production for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the preserved turkey exports in the European Union totaled 122K tonnes, going up by 9.2% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.5% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 when exports increased by 19% y-o-y. Over the period under review, preserved turkey exports reached their maximum in 2018 and are likely to see steady growth in the near future.

In value terms, preserved turkey exports amounted to $474M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 with an increase of 32% y-o-y. The level of exports peaked in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Exports by Country

The Netherlands was the major exporter of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys exported in the European Union, with the volume of exports resulting at 41K tonnes, which was approx. 34% of total exports in 2018. Germany (21K tonnes) held the second position in the ranking, followed by Poland (13,041 tonnes), Belgium (8,602 tonnes), Italy (8,022 tonnes), France (6,983 tonnes), Hungary (6,934 tonnes) and Spain (6,045 tonnes). All these countries together held near 58% share of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by the Netherlands, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest preserved turkey supplying countries in the European Union were the Netherlands ($134M), Germany ($106M) and Belgium ($49M), with a combined 61% share of total exports.

In terms of the main exporting countries, the Netherlands recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to the value of exports, over the period under review, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the preserved turkey export price in the European Union amounted to $3,900 per tonne, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. Overall, the preserved turkey export price, however, continues to indicate a slight reduction. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2011 an increase of 16% y-o-y. The level of export price peaked at $5,155 per tonne in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, export prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Belgium ($5,720 per tonne), while Poland ($2,839 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Spain, while the other leaders experienced a decline in the export price figures.

Imports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys imported in the European Union stood at 107K tonnes, rising by 13% against the previous year. In general, preserved turkey imports, however, continue to indicate a significant drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2018 with an increase of 13% y-o-y. The volume of imports peaked at 152K tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, preserved turkey imports amounted to $403M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. In general, preserved turkey imports, however, continue to indicate a perceptible shrinkage. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 when imports increased by 14% against the previous year. Over the period under review, preserved turkey imports reached their peak figure at $601M in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

Imports by Country

Germany (16,239 tonnes), France (11,509 tonnes), Hungary (7,889 tonnes), the UK (7,614 tonnes), Greece (7,423 tonnes), the Netherlands (6,661 tonnes), Italy (6,577 tonnes), Belgium (6,314 tonnes), Spain (5,158 tonnes), Austria (5,019 tonnes), Portugal (4,455 tonnes) and Ireland (4,418 tonnes) represented roughly 84% of total imports of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys in 2018.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Hungary, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest preserved turkey importing markets in the European Union were Germany ($60M), France ($51M) and the Netherlands ($32M), together comprising 35% of total imports. The UK, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 47%.

Hungary experienced the highest growth rate of the value of imports, among the main importing countries over the period under review, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The preserved turkey import price in the European Union stood at $3,777 per tonne in 2018, standing approx. at the previous year. Over the period under review, the preserved turkey import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2008 when the import price increased by 22% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the import prices for prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys attained their peak figure at $4,847 per tonne in 2011; however, from 2012 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was the Netherlands ($4,854 per tonne), while Hungary ($1,577 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by the Netherlands, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

ecommerce business

How Coronavirus Impacts Ecommerce Business and Beyond

There is no vaccine to prevent the spreading Coronavirus, yet, and that holds lessons for ecommerce businesses and the people who work at them. Today, we’re facing a time to prepare and hopefully limit exposure and risks at work.

For businesses, preparation and the possibility of illness are going to reshape the day-to-day. After reviewing scenarios and government guidance (here’s your list of cleaners that can take out COVID-19), we’ve put together some thoughts on the most significant impacts we’ll see soon and how companies can respond to protect their people best.

Sending people home is best but expensive

Many ecommerce businesses are small shops, though we’ve been impressed to see some grow significantly in recent years. It’s always a fantastic thing to witness, but their scrappy nature usually means staff are perpetually busy and wearing multiple hats.

Unfortunately, that might mean the COVID-19 threat will hit you especially hard.

Your best bet to keep everyone at work safe is to let anyone go home when they feel even the slightest bit sick. If that happens, document the person arrived and left, plus who they came into contact with at work — employees and anyone who might’ve visited — and how they got to work. This can help medical professionals who are already going to be stretched thin.

The best practice here is going to cost you, but it could also save your team from significant harm, and that is to pay your team to stay home. Help people use their sick days and vacation time if they have it. If someone doesn’t, review your budget to see what you can offer.

If people can’t afford to stay home, they come into work even when sick. That’s a danger none of us can afford right now.

Wash your hands and everything else

There is a little bit of a silver lining in the ecommerce world: most of the products moving through your warehouse are going to be safe. You’re watching for people above all else.

This is because most coronaviruses, including COVID-19, struggle to live on surfaces. So far, we haven’t seen evidence of contaminated food products, which is generally where you’ll first see illnesses spread by products/goods.

For products, the risk is a “smear infection” where someone coughs or sneezes onto a product or package, and a new person touches that and then their face. The virus is believed to have a short lifespan in smear cases, so your team should be relatively safe. Maximize their safety by prioritizing handwashing. Have your team wear gloves at all times, but still make them wash up after unloading a truck.

What ecommerce and other businesses will want to be aware of is the route their goods are taking to get to warehouses. If something is passing through areas where there’s been an outbreak or if you learn that a delivery person for a specific company has fallen ill, pay extra close attention to cleaning these products and packages.

For goods that have been traveling to your company for days or weeks by ocean, there’s minimal product risk from that leg of the trip, but local infections may be possible. Air travel is fast enough that you could have higher smear risks.

So, wash hands, wear gloves, and clean everything as you go.

Alternatives may become scarce

Some impacts are already rippling through the global supply chain. One significant shift is that companies are scrambling to find alternative sources for products and raw materials. Not only are prices for some materials already rising, but there’s growing lane congestion.

This will be a double hit for businesses.

If you’re not manufacturing your own goods, then you need someone to do it for you. New partners can be expensive to source. At the same time, your competition will be turning to them as well. Also happening concurrently, manufacturers will be looking to secure new sources of raw materials. Shifts, such as nearshoring production and buying local, all come with increased costs and supply chain changes.

The other impact is that it could generate more congestion for local delivery and fulfillment options. Companies may face the cost of shipping their goods rise, as well as see delays in fulfillment times. Those delays are already happening in areas where there have been cases of the virus.

Your business will pay more, but you might not be able to pass on additional expenses to customers. Delays in fulfillment times will hit the ecommerce sector hard because customers already expect two-day shipping options. Now, you’ll have to tell them it could be longer and cost more, which may see them take their business elsewhere.

Outsourcing will increase

Expect companies to start diversifying the way they get goods to customers. One particular method is going to be outsourcing fulfillment to companies that have multiple warehouses. It’s a smart way to avoid supply chain bottlenecks because it minimizes the chances that a local outbreak will impact your entire fulfillment operations.

For some ecommerce companies, this outsourcing may come with a small benefit of reaching customers more quickly (once they get stock to third-party logistics providers), while also protecting some workers. If we see sustained infections and spreading of the virus, there’s a potential that many small ecommerce businesses will start outsourcing their entire fulfillment operations.

In the short-term, that could cause some issues with warehouse space and fulfillment staff. In the long run, it might cause cost reductions and lead to greater product availability.

Companies who can figure out how to avoid delivery slowdowns — such as large ones able to own and use their own delivery fleet — will dominate the market. The U.S. has faced a truck driver shortage for years, and growth in outsourcing may help curb some of that, but it would come with higher wages for those who have a greater potential risk of being exposed to the Coronavirus and other health concerns.

Our world will look different tomorrow

We’ve fully embraced the gig economy and home delivery, and there’s a potential it all comes crashing down. Whether these employees continue work amid growing exposure (and even after becoming sick) or if services start slowing down, it’ll impact the daily lives of many Americans.

Businesses will also face changes in the way we bring people to the office, help staff pay for healthcare, and what processes we no longer choose to do to protect ourselves. The global, interconnected supply chain is already changing, and nothing but time will tell us how profound and varied this impact is.

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Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

Recovered fibre pulp

China’s Recovered Fibre Pulp Market to Reach 82M Tonnes by 2025

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘China – Recovered Fiber Pulp – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the recovered fibre pulp market in China amounted to $23.3B in 2018, approximately reflecting the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). Overall, the total market indicated a buoyant increase from 2007 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +4.2% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, recovered fibre pulp consumption decreased by -23.7% against 2015 indices. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2012 when the market value increased by 32% y-o-y. Recovered fibre pulp consumption peaked at $30.5B in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, consumption remained at a lower figure.

Market Forecast 2019-2025 in China

Driven by increasing demand for recovered fibre pulp in China, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next seven-year period. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +3.8% for the seven-year period from 2018 to 2025, which is projected to bring the market volume to 82M tonnes by the end of 2025.

Production in China

In 2018, the recovered fibre pulp production in China stood at 63M tonnes, leveling off at the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.2% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 with an increase of 13% against the previous year. Recovered fibre pulp production peaked at 63M tonnes in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp production amounted to $22.8B in 2018 estimated in export prices. In general, recovered fibre pulp production continues to indicate a prominent increase. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 with an increase of 47% against the previous year. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp production reached its maximum level at $33.3B in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, production remained at a lower figure.

Exports from China

In 2018, approx. 549 tonnes of recovered fibre pulp were exported from China; increasing by 3% against the previous year. Overall, the total exports indicated a conspicuous increase from 2007 to 2018: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, recovered fibre pulp exports decreased by -5.2% against 2016 indices. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 when exports increased by 55% against the previous year. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp exports attained their maximum at 579 tonnes in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp exports amounted to $198K (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp exports continue to indicate a significant increase. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2012 with an increase of 114% y-o-y. Exports peaked at $282K in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, exports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

Exports by Country

China, Hong Kong SAR (93 tonnes), Kyrgyzstan (76 tonnes) and the U.S. (74 tonnes) were the main destinations of recovered fibre pulp exports from China, together accounting for 44% of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by the U.S. (+55.3% per year), while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Kyrgyzstan ($45K), South Korea ($27K) and the U.S. ($24K) appeared to be the largest markets for recovered fibre pulp exported from China worldwide, with a combined 49% share of total exports.

Among the main countries of destination, Kyrgyzstan (+50.3% per year) experienced the highest growth rate of exports, over the last eleven years, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average recovered fibre pulp export price amounted to $361 per tonne, therefore, remained relatively stable against the previous year. Overall, the recovered fibre pulp export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 when the average export price increased by 38% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the average export prices for recovered fibre pulp reached their maximum at $525 per tonne in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, export prices failed to regain their momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was South Korea ($1,273 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Togo ($53 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to South Korea, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into China

In 2018, the imports of recovered fibre pulp into China totaled 11K tonnes, going down by -3.9% against the previous year. In general, recovered fibre pulp imports continue to indicate a perceptible curtailment. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2009 when imports increased by 85% y-o-y. In that year, recovered fibre pulp imports reached their peak of 20K tonnes. From 2010 to 2018, the growth of recovered fibre pulp imports failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp imports amounted to $5.9M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Overall, recovered fibre pulp imports continue to indicate a temperate decrease. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2009 with an increase of 97% y-o-y. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp imports attained their peak figure at $12M in 2010; however, from 2011 to 2018, imports remained at a lower figure.

Imports by Country

Malaysia (3.4K tonnes), Indonesia (2.9K tonnes) and the U.S. (2.9K tonnes) were the main suppliers of recovered fibre pulp imports to China, with a combined 81% share of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main suppliers, was attained by Indonesia (+68.3% per year), while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the U.S. ($1.8M), Indonesia ($1.5M) and Malaysia ($1.4M) were the largest recovered fibre pulp suppliers to China, with a combined 79% share of total imports.

In terms of the main suppliers, Indonesia (+65.2% per year) recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to imports, over the last eleven years, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average recovered fibre pulp import price amounted to $512 per tonne, increasing by 1.8% against the previous year. Over the period from 2007 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.8%. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2010 when the average import price increased by 24% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the average import prices for recovered fibre pulp reached their maximum at $610 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Saudi Arabia ($961 per tonne), while the price for South Africa ($364 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Malaysia, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

scaffolding

EU Scaffolding Market Rose 4.5% to Reach $2.4B in 2018

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Equipment For Scaffolding, Shuttering, Propping Or Pit Propping – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the scaffolding market in the European Union amounted to $2.4B in 2018, surging by 4.5% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of scaffolding consumption in 2018 were Poland (489K tonnes), Italy (317K tonnes) and Germany (161K tonnes), with a combined 52% share of total consumption. These countries were followed by France, Spain, Belgium, the UK, Bulgaria, Austria, Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic, which together accounted for a further 37%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Belgium, while scaffolding consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest scaffolding markets in the European Union were Poland ($401M), Germany ($333M) and Italy ($300M), together accounting for 42% of the total market. France, the UK, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Portugal lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 40%.

The countries with the highest levels of scaffolding per capita consumption in 2018 were Poland (12,800 kg per 1000 persons), Belgium (10,778 kg per 1000 persons) and Bulgaria (10,126 kg per 1000 persons).

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Belgium, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Production in the EU

The EU scaffolding production totaled 2.1M tonnes in 2018, therefore, remained relatively stable against the previous year. Overall, scaffolding production, however, continues to indicate a measured drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2014 with an increase of 16% against the previous year. Over the period under review, scaffolding production attained its maximum volume at 2.8M tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum.

Production by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of scaffolding production in 2018 were Poland (541K tonnes), Italy (389K tonnes) and Germany (257K tonnes), with a combined 57% share of total production. These countries were followed by Austria, Spain, Belgium and Bulgaria, which together accounted for a further 29%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Austria, while scaffolding production for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the exports of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in the European Union amounted to 1.3M tonnes, surging by 13% against the previous year. In general, scaffolding exports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 with an increase of 20% year-to-year. Over the period under review, scaffolding exports reached their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, scaffolding exports totaled $3.1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

Germany (360K tonnes) and Austria (266K tonnes) were the largest exporters of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in 2018, accounting for approx. 28% and 21% of total exports, respectively. Italy (115K tonnes) occupied the next position in the ranking, followed by Spain (109K tonnes) and Poland (101K tonnes). All these countries together occupied approx. 26% share of total exports. The Czech Republic (44K tonnes), the Netherlands (43K tonnes), Belgium (39K tonnes), the UK (36K tonnes), Sweden (26K tonnes), France (25K tonnes) and Portugal (21K tonnes) occupied a little share of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Sweden.

In value terms, the largest scaffolding supplying countries in the European Union were Germany ($1.1B), Austria ($652M) and Spain ($235M), together comprising 63% of total exports. These countries were followed by Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France and Portugal, which together accounted for a further 31%.

Export Prices by Country

The scaffolding export price in the European Union stood at $2,440 per tonne in 2018, surging by 8.7% against the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Germany ($2,954 per tonne), while the Czech Republic ($1,538 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Belgium.

Imports in the EU

The imports totaled 1M tonnes in 2018, going up by 15% against the previous year. In general, scaffolding imports, however, continue to indicate a slight curtailment. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 when imports increased by 15% against the previous year. The volume of imports peaked at 1.2M tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, imports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

In value terms, scaffolding imports amounted to $2.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (263K tonnes), distantly followed by France (114K tonnes), the UK (91K tonnes), Austria (72K tonnes), the Netherlands (54K tonnes), Belgium (49K tonnes), Poland (49K tonnes) and Sweden (49K tonnes) were the main importers of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping, together comprising 71% of total imports. The following importers – Spain (45K tonnes), Italy (42K tonnes), the Czech Republic (29K tonnes) and Denmark (25K tonnes) – together made up 14% of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, average annual rates of growth with regard to scaffolding imports into Germany stood at +5.8%. At the same time, Sweden (+6.9%), the Czech Republic (+1.8%), Denmark (+1.6%) and Austria (+1.1%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Sweden emerged as the fastest-growing importer imported in the European Union, with a CAGR of +6.9% from 2007-2018. France experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Poland (-1.8%), Belgium (-1.9%), Spain (-4.8%), the Netherlands (-7.0%), Italy (-7.2%) and the UK (-8.3%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. While the share of Germany (+12 p.p.) and Sweden (+2.4 p.p.) increased significantly in terms of the total imports from 2007-2018, the share of Spain (-3.2 p.p.), Italy (-5.2 p.p.), the Netherlands (-6.3 p.p.) and the UK (-14 p.p.) displayed negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, Germany ($539M) constitutes the largest market for imported equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in the European Union, comprising 24% of total scaffolding imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by France ($251M), with a 11% share of total imports. It was followed by the UK, with a 9.2% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value in Germany amounted to +3.3%. The remaining importing countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: France (-0.4% per year) and the UK (-4.8% per year).

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the scaffolding import price in the European Union amounted to $2,185 per tonne, increasing by 5.3% against the previous year. In general, the scaffolding import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 an increase of 19% y-o-y. In that year, the import prices for equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping attained their peak level of $2,586 per tonne. From 2009 to 2018, the growth in terms of the import prices for equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping failed to regain its momentum.

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, major importing countries recorded the following prices: in the Netherlands ($2,588 per tonne) and Austria ($2,468 per tonne), while Poland ($1,998 per tonne) and Germany ($2,044 per tonne) were amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Italy, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

coronavirus

The Impact of the Coronavirus on U.S. Trade Proceedings

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an undisputed impact on health and travel around the globe during the past two months. It has also stifled trade with China, where it originated. The pressure from tariffs and the ongoing trade war is beginning to shift to pressure from supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Importers and manufacturers that source from China have been particularly affected, as have maritime, construction, and global supply chain entities. But as trade with China has taken a hit, how have U.S. agencies handled the administration and enforcement of ongoing proceedings involving China?

Of all U.S. federal agencies with oversight over trade with China, the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) is perhaps the most directly involved. The DOC administers antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing (“CVD”) cases, as well as Section 232 tariffs that target Chinese imports. The Office of the United States Trade Secretary (“USTR”) administers the Section 301 tariffs specifically targeting China.

The virus has had a lesser impact on the administration of Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs because this is handled almost entirely in Washington. However, in AD/CVD cases DOC officials must regularly travel to China to conduct onsite verifications of Chinese producers examined in these proceedings. The DOC is currently overseeing nearly 200 ongoing AD/CVD cases against China. Of these, new investigations require verifications, and in the remaining annual reviews the DOC must verify Chinese producers at least once every three years. Each verification takes at minimum a week and involves two or three officials. That adds up to significant travel to China during an average year.

So how has the DOC been mitigating the impact of the virus on its ability to administer trade remedy proceedings? For one, many AD/CVD verifications have been put on hold indefinitely due to health concerns and because major airlines have suspended flights to China. This can be good or bad depending on which side of the case one is (i.e., U.S. companies that brought the cases vs. the importers that have to pay the duties). If the case is likely to result in high margins, importers and their Chinese suppliers would likely want verification so that they can personally prove to DOC officials that they are not dumping and do not receive illegal subsidies. On the other hand, if the AD/CVD margins are projected to be low, then U.S. producers may want the Chinese producers verified, and conversely the latter would prefer not to be audited.

The DOC has also been generous about granting extensions for submissions to Chinese respondents in AD/CVD cases. The agency recognizes that responses to its questionnaires require access to information which has been difficult for Chinese employees to access. Many of them are in quarantined areas and unable to get to work, let alone respond to DOC’s requests. Chinese legal counsel and accountants that regularly support respondents in DOC’s proceedings also are less able to reach their clients.

The DOC may even consider a less conventional approach – tolling of AD/CVD cases. Tolling would allow for ongoing proceedings to be paused or delayed. There is little precedent for such action in response to a foreign emergency or crisis. The DOC last tolled deadlines in its proceedings during the U.S. government shutdown in January 2019. But that was necessitated by domestic federal government concerns. With the coronavirus, a close comparison could be made to the 2004 Asian tsunami crisis, but that event did not necessitate tolling of DOC’s AD/CVD cases involving shrimp from Thailand and India whose seafood industries were decimated.

The DOC has the discretion to toll its deadlines. However, an action that changes AD/CVD duties would require Congressional approval. Hence pleas for a reduction in such duties would face an uphill effort and encounter resistance from domestic producers (as it did when Thailand asked to have dumping duties on its shrimp reduced after the tsunami).

Although the coronavirus itself appears to have become a non-tariff barrier, the Trump Administration has given no indication of backing off its trade deal reached with China in January. Under the agreement, China promised to increase purchases of U.S. crops and meat products by $20 billion in 2020 in exchange for a reduction or delay on current tariffs. Indeed, in late February, USTR Robert Lighthizer and Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue insisted that the Administration will hold China accountable for its commitments, even as the outbreak disrupts global supply lines.

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*Mark Ludwikowski is the leader of the International Trade practice of Clark Hill, PLC and is resident in the firm’s Washington D.C. office. He can be reached at 202-640-6680 and mludwikowski@ClarkHill.com