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Demand Moves from the Fridge to the Freezer 


Demand Moves from the Fridge to the Freezer 

The chill is on. Factories worldwide are reporting plunging demand for a range of products. Central bankers and policymakers had their collective fingers crossed for a more palatable outcome, but the demand boom that ignited the post-pandemic recovery appears to be reversing course. Price increases and interest rate hikes are producing an adverse spending effect. Manufacturer surveys from the US to Italy to South Korea are all reporting the same – new orders are down big.  

A curious observation is even in places like the Eurozone (where interest rates have not risen yet), demand is still down. This could benefit the zone’s central bankers as pressures to hike rates might remain low. Long-term, however, higher rates coupled with lowering demand would surely lead firms to lay off employees resulting in a likely recession. Prevailing experts agree that global supply and demand are far from balanced. Inflation will subside if a balancing act can be found.    

Eurozone factory output hit its weakest level since August 2020. US output was no better, as expectations for future output plummeted to its lowest level in roughly two years. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was in Portugal in late June/early July and did not mince words when warning that policymakers will need to cool consumption so supply has a chance of catching up. Another variable that is muddying the waters is exports from Asia. 

South Korea, for example, slowed sharply in June, and Vietnam registered two months (May and June) of export declines. Taiwan, a major IT export powerhouse, tumbled in June, reporting its biggest export drop in two years. China, on the other hand, expanded its factory activity for the first time in three months, but the bulk of that is due to the easing of Shanghai lockdowns. While production was up, overseas demand continued to be weak. 

On the consumer electronics front, the news wasn’t much better. Japan’s Ryohin Keikaku Company, the owner of the highly successful Muji stores, slashed its full-year profit guidance. Excess inventory was the root cause leading to heavy discounting. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation out of China issued a dire warning in May that demand for home appliances and consumer electronics was dropping precipitously and not likely to improve over the coming months.

On the shipping side, the cost of shipping a 40–foot container from China to the US West Coast had dropped 15% from June 29th, and was 14% lower compared to a year earlier. This is a clear sign of weakening demand and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has simultaneously pushed food and energy prices even higher. 

Economists see a light at the end of the tunnel come early 2023. While a recession is expected State-side, some feel Europe will narrowly avoid one. Buckle up for a trying second half of 2022.    



Metaverse: a new way for businesses to connect with consumers?

Although not a new concept and with a long road ahead, the “Metaverse” is currently seen as the future of the Internet, which is why technology giants such as Meta, Google and Apple are competing to be number one in the race to dominate the metaverse.

Eva Martín, CEO at Tiendeo, a company that specializes in the digitalization of the retail sector, kicks off the debate with the following question: Are we facing a fleeting fad or a new world that is opening the doors to a powerful business model? By way of introduction, he invites us to ask ourselves what we think of the metaverse, to enter this world to find out how it is changing people’s lives, the opportunities it offers retailers and brands to connect with the consumer.

A whole new universe in the making

The Metaverse is a virtual space that we can connect to through devices such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) glasses or helmets and applications that offer the promise of an immersive experience that feels like we are there, interacting with other people and objects.

In this alternative world, everything will be possible through an avatar: buying goods and services, attending concerts, traveling, playing games, and even working. The amazing thing about this universe is that you can teleport from one experience to another without leaving your room. The development of the metaverse seeks to extend the real world into the virtual world by making everyday actions into a spectacle.

What makes the metaverse so appealing?

The great potential of this technology as a business model is what has led several companies to create their own “omniverses”. To be successful they must understand that the user ventures into the metaverse to escape from the real world, because it offers them the alluring possibility of creating their own personality, their own reality: to show themselves as they “feel” they really are, taking the user experience to another level. Brands have seen in the metaverse the opportunity to create that aspirational reality and self-expression that, many times, the user is not able to develop or transfer to his real and physical life.

This introduces a new form of interaction between consumers and brands through the D2A (direct-to-avatar) model where we will no longer buy clothes for ourselves, but for our representation in the metaverse. This opportunity to improve conversions through fully immersive shopping experiences also has other benefits. In this universe, there are no stock or store space limitations, and manufacturing these products does not require raw materials or workshops to create them, so the profit margin is much higher.

The challenge for companies will be to get people to carry out the bulk of their activities in this digital universe, just as we do in the physical world, giving rise to virtual marketplaces that already move large sums of money. This is not so far-fetched in an age where humans are already glued to technology, whether professionally, socially, or both, and it is speculated that by 2030 we will spend more time in the metaverse than in “real life”. As such, the desire to dominate the new virtual spaces reveals an eagerness to control the way people interact with each other.

The Metaverse at the forefront of the retail sector

The opportunities offered by the Metaverse are endless, especially in the field of commerce. Technology company Wildbytes estimates that in the next five years, 70% of major brands will have a presence in the Metaverse. By 2023 some companies are already promising to launch a new product while others are already looking at the possibility of creating malls, boutiques, and virtual stores where avatars will be able to buy NFT products and pay in cryptocurrencies.

The retail sector is one of the most heavily invested in the Metaverse. For example, Gucci has already started selling its own virtual clothing, the Gucci Virtual 25 trainers and H&M has recently launched its first virtual collection through Nintendo’s social simulation game Animal Crossing.

Ikea also uses AR technology in its App to allow customers to create their own spaces and see how furniture would look in the physical world using AR technology.

There are brands that go even further and have no hesitation about making a clear commitment to the Metaverse. This is the case for Nike, which has gone so far as to create its own virtual universe: Nikeland. A space that offers access to various sporting arenas, as well as a showroom where users can equip their avatars with Nike shoes to take part in competitions. The brand also uses it as a testing ground so that younger generations can experience its new products through avatars before purchasing them in real life.

In short, the metaverse revolution holds the promise of a digital experience in which the virtual world and the real world intertwine and merge under a single reality. It is now up to brands and retailers to find their place in it and explore its full potential.

supply chain

Managing Crisis Within the Food and Beverage Supply Chain

If there’s one thing France hasn’t experienced a shortage of recently, it’s supply chain issues. The pandemic affected food and drink availability in a number of ways, from issues with growth and production to a shortage of delivery vehicles. This has caused a number of issues for food and beverage manufacturers, who are struggling to keep up with demand as a supplier while also experiencing issues in their own supply chains.

The wine shortage in 2021, caused by unseasonably cold weather in key wine-growing regions, has also had a serious impact given France is the second-largest wine producer in the world. The l’Association Nationale des Produits Alimentaires attributed current and future expected shortages to price rises throughout the supply chain.

It’s clear that we’re likely to experience more supply chain issues in the near future. But there are ways food and beverage manufacturers can mitigate these risks. Here, we’ll explore the options.

Protect your existing supplies and production

At a time when food production is affected by issues such as the weather, protecting existing resources is essential. Many food manufacturers have had to recall products because of avoidable issues in the factory. Food manufacturing powerhouse Kraft Heinz made global headlines when it had to recall over 1.2 million containers of cottage cheese because they weren’t stored at the correct temperature.

Equipment maintenance is essential to prevent unnecessary product spoilage and recalls. Many manufacturers will operate on a reactive maintenance model, only maintaining machinery when it fails. Instead, switching to proactive maintenance and checking equipment regularly can help to identify issues before they become a problem. Predictive maintenance technologies are now more commonplace too and will monitor the health of systems automatically.

Food contamination is also an issue that can result in recalls and even affect the health of end consumers. It was reported in 2021 that foodborne illnesses increased between 2018 and 2019, with salmonella topping the list of pathogens. There are a range of processes that can threaten the hygiene of food – from handlers not washing their hands to unsanitary cabling. Many manufacturers use stainless steel goulottes métalliques because they’re easy to clean and decontaminate.

Diversify your suppliers

Access to, and costs of, the raw materials needed to make foodstuff is a key issue right now. it’s essential for manufacturers to diversify their suppliers in the wake of supply chain disruptions. If you rely on one or two suppliers for one key ingredient and they experience issues, you’ll feel this more acutely.

In the wake of COVID-19’s dramatic impact on small businesses, while global behemoths like Amazon increased their profits, we’ve seen a shift towards prioritising local businesses. To encourage this, the government introduced click and collect services for small businesses that didn’t have the resource to set up an ecommerce presence.

The same should go for businesses looking for new suppliers. Small businesses need support, and local suppliers can offer more security to your business because they’re more easily accessible. What’s more, with a renewed focus on sustainability in France in 2022, going local can boost a business’ green credentials.

Support the elimination of food waste

Consumer food waste is a real problem worldwide, but especially in France. Despite a number of legislations in place to prevent food waste, research by Statista has shown that bread is one of the food items French consumers waste the most often. The survey found that 16% of consumers were throwing bread away at least once a week. Given that flour is an ingredient that has soared in price, throwing away its end product is costly.

At a time of food shortages and soaring prices, the nation should be focusing on reducing food waste. France is a global leader in the reduction of business food waste, as well as helping consumers to recycle applicable soiled food. The government and businesses can build on this platform with educational campaigns on reducing the amount of food that is thrown away or recycled.

Food manufacturers can play their part too. Packaging should include information on how best to store the food, as well as tips on making it last longer – such as storing unused bread in the freezer, transferring dried food to airtight glass containers, and putting fresh herbs in water.

France’s supply chain issues are set to continue into 2022. While it’ll be difficult to completely prevent shortages and price fluctuations, there are a number of steps that food manufacturers can take to mitigate these issues and ensure they can continue to provide essential resources for businesses and consumers alike.




Rice Price to Stabilize on Adequate Supply and Low-Cost Shipments from India

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

This year, rice prices are forecast to ease, thanks primarily to rising production and exports from India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Pakistan. India dominates global trade, more than doubling its supplies at a competitive cost over the past two years.

Rice prices are predicted to drop this year with sufficient supply worldwide, a new report published by IndexBox states. According to USDA data, global milled rice production is forecast to remain stable, totalling 510M tonnes. World’s total exports will reach 51M tonnes, which includes paddy, milled, semi-milled and broken rice, staying at the previous year level.

Sufficient exports from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, and low-cost rice supplies from India are set to provide price stability this year. According to the World Bank forecast, the average price for white rice from Thailand (5% broken, FOB, Bangkok) will drop by 12% y/y to near $400 per tonne in 2022. Last year, the prices for Thailand’s rice fell by approx. 8% y/y, while Vietnamese white rice (5% broken, FOB, Hanoi) rose in price by 4% y/y to $446 per tonne.

India dominates global trade, boosting total rice exports twofold to over 20M tonnes during the past two years. Due to increasing Minimum Price Support (MSP) for rice, India managed to sharply expand the harvested area and ramp up output and exports, offering the product at competitive prices on the global market. India has also invested massive funds in its deep-water ports to ship in bulk in addition to the typical containers.

Global Rice Exports by Country

Global rice exports were estimated at 46M tonnes in 2020, rising by 9.8% on the previous year. In value terms, supplies expanded notably to $25.2B (IndexBox estimates).

India represented the major exporting country with an export of around 15M tonnes, which accounted for 32% of total exports. It was distantly followed by Thailand (5.7M tonnes), Viet Nam (5.6M tonnes), Pakistan (4M tonnes), the U.S. (3.3M tonnes) and China (2.3M tonnes), together constituting a 45% share of total exports. Myanmar (2M tonnes), Brazil (1.4M tonnes), Uruguay (1M tonnes), Paraguay (0.9M tonnes), and Italy (0.8M tonnes) occupied a minor share of total exports.

In value terms, India ($8B) remains the largest rice supplier worldwide, comprising 32% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Thailand ($3.7B), with a 15% share of global exports. It was followed by Viet Nam, with an 11% share.

From 2018 to 2020, the average annual growth rate in terms of value in India amounted to +4.2%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Thailand (-18.7% per year) and Viet Nam (+3.2% per year).

Source: IndexBox Platform


Is It Time to Reignite North American Manufacturing?

For the last four decades, manufacturing jobs have left North America. While this has led to lower prices for consumer goods, the supply chain issues laid bare over the last two years have demonstrated the unwritten costs inherent in this shift to foreign imports. Thousands of container ships are stranded in the Pacific Ocean, and many factories overseas are months (or even years) behind schedule. As a result, the cost of items has risen sharply for industries ranging from retail to automotive to construction, and caused brands to focus on how to reintroduce manufacturing to North America on a wider scale. 

The Plot of Every Springsteen Song  

Manufacturing jobs have been leaving North America since the 1970s, partly due to the perception that the industry has changed in ways North American workers wouldn’t like. But this is largely untrue — manufacturing jobs pay higher wages than comparable “blue collar” positions, and many come with benefits. Before the labor exodus, manufacturing jobs could support whole towns through a middle-class lifestyle. Showing the benefits of these rewarding industrial positions is North America’s best bet to reinvigorate the working middle class that fuels our consumer economy, while helping North American workers learn key technical skills for the new job market. But to do so, we’ll have to change those mistaken perceptions. 

Workers aren’t the only ones who would benefit from bringing manufacturing back. Smaller or midsize companies find themselves at a serious recruiting and production disadvantage, even before international shipping went awry. Unlike bigger companies who both have a larger stockpile of goods and talent and who can pay to expedite deliveries, smaller businesses are left adrift with their late arrivals. For these companies, investing in North American manufacturing can secure their supply chains and intellectual property while planting deeper roots in their communities. 

The Smart (Factory) Advantage  

Cutting-edge technology can give North American manufacturing the edge it needs to compete with inarguably cheaper services overseas. We are in the midst of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” wherein the manufacturing sector integrates ideas like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Smart Factories. This increased use of machine learning and automation means the sorts of factories we can build in North America will be more productive than those overseas, while giving employees new opportunities to learn and grow. Those employees will be required more to maintain and program the machines than to assemble stock by hand, and the training they receive will also make for a more agile working class on the continent. 

Potholes and Speed Bumps  

Of course there will be challenges in reinvigorating North American manufacturing. Modern products, especially the electronics so central to our lives, require worker specialization. Even if a smart factory is automating every step, workers must know exactly what those steps are and how to ensure they’re being automated correctly. This advanced training is part of the overall cost of “scaling up” but in the end serve to illustrate the importance of manufacturing and the careers available for those who embrace the learning and development available in the industry. 

And speaking of supply, the manufacturing exodus has caused continental supply chains to atrophy, and these will need to be redeveloped to make delivery from North American factories to North American stores as fast as it is to those same stores from foreign factories. With today’s major trucker shortage, that rehabilitation is easier said than done.  

Embracing Challenges  

Many North American companies should seriously consider taking these hard but necessary steps to bring their manufacturing efforts back in-house. Not only would the investment pay off in greater independence and control over stock, but also reinvigorate industrial employment sectors in supply chains and manufacturing. While the current status quo is efficient when everything is going right, the past few years have proven how fast everything can go wrong. In those situations, the advantage lies with companies that can provide their own supply of goods and recruit and retain workers who have intimate knowledge of the products and processes.   


Carl Schweihs is President and Chief Operating Officer of PeopleManagement, TrueBlue’s workforce management division specializing in onsite and contingent workforces. He leads three staffing businesses – Centerline Drivers, SIMOS Solutions and Staff Management | SMX, combining innovative, technology-based solutions with workforce strategy to help bridge talent gaps and prepare tomorrow’s supply chain talent for the future.   


Soybean Oil Prices to Gain 4% in 2022 Due to Boosting Demand for Biofuels

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

In 2022, soybean oil prices are forecast to rise by nearly 4% to $1,425 per tonne, driven by boosting demand for biofuels. In 2021, the average annual soybean oil price skyrocketed, rising 65% y-o-y to $1,385 per tonne. India remains the world’s largest soybean oil importer, while Argentina holds the position of the leading global supplier. 

Soybean Oil Price Forecast 2022

According to the World Bank’s October forecast, the average annual soybean oil price is set to grow by nearly 4% to $1,425 per tonne in 2022. Rising demand for biofuels, especially in Asia, will be the key driver of that increase.

In 2021, the average annual soybean oil price soared by 65% y-o-y, from $838 per tonne to $1,385 per tonne. The most rapid price growth was recorded in Q3, instigated by weather-related production shortfalls in South America, strong demand in China, and high freight rates.

Soybean Oil Imports 

In 2020, overseas soybean oil purchases increased by 7.5% to 13M tonnes, rising for the second year in a row after three years of decline. In value terms, soybean oil imports expanded notably to $10.3B (IndexBox estimates).

India was the major importing country with a purchase volume of around 3.7M tonnes, which resulted in 28% of global supplies. China (963K tonnes) held the second position in the ranking, followed by Algeria (670K tonnes) and Bangladesh (666K tonnes). All these countries together took near 17% share of total imports. Morocco (547K tonnes), Mauritania (537K tonnes), Peru (521K tonnes), South Korea (390K tonnes), Colombia (378K tonnes), Venezuela (373K tonnes), Egypt (243K tonnes), Poland (229K tonnes) and Nepal (215K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

In value terms, India ($3B) constitutes the largest market for imported soybean oil worldwide, comprising 29% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by China ($725M), with a 7% share of the total value. It was followed by Algeria, with a 4.6% share.

Top Largest Soybean Oil Exporters

In 2020, Argentina (5.3M tonnes) was the key exporter of soybean oil, constituting 42% of total exports. It was distantly followed by the U.S. (1,238K tonnes), Brazil (1,110K tonnes), Paraguay (631K tonnes), the Netherlands (615K tonnes) and Russia (611K tonnes), together creating a 33% share of global shipments. Spain (387K tonnes), Bolivia (377K tonnes), Ukraine (302K tonnes), Turkey (208K tonnes) and Germany (192K tonnes) held relatively small shares of the total volume.

In value terms, Argentina ($3.7B) remains the largest soybean oil supplier worldwide, comprising 39% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the U.S. ($979M), with a 10% share of total supplies. It was followed by Brazil, with an 8% share.

Source: IndexBox Platform

global supply chains

How Will Climate Change Affect Global Supply Chains?

The world relies on global supply chains, but these networks are prone to disruption. Disease outbreaks, worker shortages, technological issues, and more can all cause substantial delays and expenses, but one factor is more threatening to supply chains than any other. Logistics professionals today must consider the impact of climate change.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing more than 250 times faster than in the last Ice Age, mostly due to human activity. That’s led to rising temperatures, glacial ice loss, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and more. As climate change worsens, these factors will grow more severe.

Here’s how that could affect global supply chains.

Declining Supplies

One of the most disruptive effects climate change will have on supply chains is on the supply side. Rapidly warming oceans and increasingly extreme weather have already started to affect multiple industries, decreasing their output. As this trend continues, supply chains will have fewer and fewer reliable sources for some products.

For example, New York’s registered lobster landings decreased by 97.7% between 1996 and 2014, thanks to warmer oceans. Similarly, droughts have hampered agricultural production, with products like rice and coffee seeing dramatically smaller harvests. Supply chains will have an increasingly difficult time finding sufficient sources to meet demand as this problem grows.

Extreme weather events could reduce global supplies even faster. Wildfires in North American forests are a severe threat to the lumber industry, and they’ll become more frequent as climate change worsens. Hurricanes, flooding, and similar events will have a similar effect on oceanic and seaside industries.

Workplace Disruptions

Climate change also poses a threat to the workplaces that sustain global supply chains. The most straightforward way this would happen is through temperature-related worker exhaustion and illness. Every increase of 1° Celsius could reduce worker productivity by 1-3% for those outside or without air conditioning.

While those percentages seem small, they could add up to the equivalent of 80 million job losses by 2030. That would result in global losses of $2.4 trillion. Rising sea levels and extreme weather would also displace many workers, making it difficult for some warehouses and other facilities to maintain adequate staffing levels.

These facilities themselves could face physical damage as well. Inclement weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires have all become more frequent and severe amid climate change. As those trends continue, the workplaces that supply chains rely on could see increased physical damage, disrupting workflows and lowering output.

Over time, some entire facilities could become unusable. If sea levels rise by just 1 meter, 80 airports could be underwater, limiting supply chains’ transportation options.

Transportation Risks

That leads to the next effect of climate change on global supply chains. Transporting parts and products across the world will become an increasingly challenging and even dangerous task. All of the previously mentioned severe weather events would delay transportation at best and endanger employees at worst.

Many of climate change’s effects on transportation aren’t dramatic but are still damaging. For example, climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall. That alone can slow ground transportation, cause storms at sea, affect ocean transport, and delay flights, causing global disruptions.

Of course, the rising frequency of extreme weather events will also cause substantial transportation delays. Flooding will make ground transportation impossible in some areas until the waters subside and emergency responders clear the damage. Hurricanes and other storms will delay or reroute flights.

These delays will ripple throughout the supply chain and the industries that rely on it. Time-sensitive shipments could turn to waste in the face of slowed transport. Manufacturers will have to slow production in light of part shortages. Events like this already occur, and climate change makes them more common.

Rising Costs

Many of these factors will also contribute to rising operational costs throughout global supply chains. For example, as workplaces face rising worker shortages due to environmentally driven displacement, and suppliers decline, output will likely fall. As their output decreases and demand stays the same, they’ll have to raise costs to make up for it.

Supply shortages alone could have a tremendous impact on costs. The price of coffee futures nearly doubled in July 2021 as record droughts struck Brazil. Similar price hikes could affect the cost of items supply chain organizations need, like trucks, equipment parts, and fuel.

As extreme weather displaces employees, staffing costs may rise as well. Supply chains may have to offer higher wages to entice workers to remain in the area or move, raising their ongoing expenses. Some smaller companies may not be able to adapt in this way and face going out of business.

How Can Supply Chains Respond?

Climate change will undoubtedly have a tremendous negative impact on global supply chains. Many of these trends have already started to take shape. In the face of these threats, supply chain organizations must take steps to adapt to a changing world and lessen their environmental impact.

One of the most important changes is to decarbonize the supply chain. Switching to zero-emission vehicles would take a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions out of the equation, fighting climate change. With electric vehicles boasting ranges above 400 miles today, this option is becoming increasingly viable, too.

Switching to renewable energy in warehousing operations will further decarbonize supply chain operations. Logistics companies can encourage other businesses to follow suit by partnering with green manufacturing facilities, eliminating their third-party emissions as well.

Supply chains must also become more resilient to minimize disruptions from near-term environmental hazards. Distributed sourcing, asset and environmental monitoring, supplier due diligence, and creating formal disaster recovery plans can all help. Steps like this can cause a company to lose just 5% of its revenue amid a disaster, compared to 35% for an unprepared party.

None of these steps can happen in isolation. Supply chains are complex, interconnected networks, and climate change is similarly multifaceted. As logistics companies seek to improve their own operations, they must partner with other organizations for more cohesive, global action.

Climate Change Is a Serious Threat to Global Supply Chains

Climate change is the most significant threat facing global supply chains today. It’s already causing shortages and disruptions in some industries, and these challenges will only grow more frequent and severe if organizations don’t take action.

The threat of climate change is grave, but it’s not inevitable. If supply chain companies and their partners can embrace more sustainable operations, they can mitigate climate change and protect future operations. The world and the global economy will be better off for it.


How Can Hauliers Cope With an Even Higher Demand This Christmas?

The Christmas rush is something hauliers anticipate every year. But it’s going to be felt more acutely this year with the additional pressures of a driver shortage and Brexit affecting the supply of some goods.

The haulage sector is set to experience its busiest Christmas period on record. On top of the usual increase in demands, there’s the perfect storm of the HGV driver shortage and supply chains impacted by Brexit and COVID. By focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing empty running, hauliers can meet these higher demands and ensure their customers receive the highest level of service.

This means hauliers will need to be even more efficient and prepared in order to meet the demands of businesses and consumers this Christmas.

Here, we cover how hauliers can cope with arguably the most demanding Christmas we’ve ever experienced.

Make planning more efficient

Efficient planning is paramount to success for all hauliers, but never has it been more important than right now. A Logistics UK survey revealed that 96% of hauliers are struggling to recruit drivers, with 13% saying their shortage is severe to very severe. To meet high demands with a potentially depleted workforce, hauliers need to get the most out of their available resources.

That’s where route planning software comes in. By feeding in all the collections and deliveries you need to make, and your vehicle and driver availability, you’ll be able to plan the most efficient routes and get the most out of your fleet.

With these solutions, you’ll have one view of your business supported by real-time information. Your planners can then make informed decisions. In the hectic traffic rush leading up to Christmas, it’s critical you can identify and manage exceptions as deliveries progress because it’s undoubtedly the busiest period on the road.

Eliminate empty running

When you have a larger-than-usual task on your hands to keep up with demand this Christmas, running empty seems even more wasteful than usual. Yet, for many hauliers, this is the case on their return journeys. If your drivers travel back empty from Glasgow to Plymouth on their return journey, for instance, that’s a lot of wasted mileage.

Using a freight exchange platform gives hauliers the opportunity to not only make the most of their journeys but also serve more customers in a time of increased demands. This can help optimize fleets in the short term and also enables hauliers to expand their network to connect with new shippers. Haulage companies with loyal customers but limited resources have the opportunity to subcontract their excess work on these platforms, meaning they can still take on additional haulage loads and get customers’ jobs done.

Allow your drivers to do more in their workday

The changes to drivers’ hours, which means drivers can work up to 11 hours a day twice a week, has been extended once again to January. But we know that making already overworked drivers work longer hours isn’t the solution, especially when many of the drivers who’ve left the sector have done so due to poor working conditions.

Giving your drivers the tools they need to achieve more in their workday is a much better solution. Not only will this allow your business to be more efficient, but you’ll also improve their satisfaction by making their jobs easier. Let’s face it, dealing with paper proof of deliveries is difficult to manage and adds time to their day.

It’s these inefficient processes that can frustrate drivers, cause delays, and even result in them finishing their day later than expected. It’s no wonder that drivers are leaving businesses that aren’t addressing this problem. Using digital tools like electronic proof of delivery and apps that provide real-time details of their deliveries allows them to focus on the job and get more done in their day.

oil production

U.S. States Producing the Most Oil

With gasoline prices reaching their highest levels since 2014 this fall, consumers, policymakers, and economic experts have lately turned their attention to the state of oil production in the U.S. and worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an uneasy time for oil, as with many other products and sectors of the economy. The price of oil futures briefly turned negative in the first months of the pandemic, and remained at relatively low levels through most of 2020 and the first part of 2021, a product of reduced demand for fuel and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. While demand has recovered the longer the pandemic has gone on, oil production has been affected by the global supply chain struggles that many other industries are experiencing as well. As a result, oil prices have rebounded to their highest levels in more than half a decade.

The volatility of the oil markets during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the challenges of having a critical product like oil be part of a complex globalized economy. Even before the pandemic, many political and economic leaders had been seeking to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil to make the country more self-reliant in its energy mix.

The U.S. has had success on this front in recent years. The U.S. saw a steady decline in oil production from the late 1980s to the mid-2000s, a product of a range of factors including decreased demand, the growth of the environmental conservation movement, and increased involvement in the Middle East. Oil production in the U.S. bottomed out at 5 million barrels per day in 2008. Since then, as policymakers have prioritized domestic production and the rise of techniques like fracking have reduced the cost of extracting petroleum, U.S. production has boomed. In 2018, the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading producer of crude oil.

The result of this growth in domestic production has been a sharp decline in petroleum imports. Imports have fallen since their peak of 13.7 million barrels per day in 2005, dropping to only 7.85 million in 2020. After taking exports of 8.5 million into account, the U.S. actually became a net exporter of oil for the first time last year.

In the U.S., as is the case globally, oil reserves are not evenly distributed, and some states produce significantly more than others. Texas is far and away the leading oil producer in the U.S. at nearly 1.8 billion barrels annually—more than four times the total for runner-up North Dakota. States in the Plains and Mountain West fare best, along with Alaska and Gulf Coast states like Louisiana and Mississippi.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. To determine the states producing the most oil, researchers at calculated the total annual crude oil production in 2020. In the event of a tie, the state with the higher 10-year change in annual crude oil production was ranked higher. Researchers also included the latest statistics on proven oil reserves, the number of operable petroleum refineries, and per capita oil consumption.

Here are the states producing the most oil.

State      Rank      Total annual crude oil production (thousand barrels) 10-year change in annual crude oil production Crude oil reserves (million barrels)           Number of operating refineries Per capita oil consumption (barrels)
Texas     1      1,776,449 +316.3% 18,622 31        53.6
North Dakota     2      434,889 +286.4% 5,897 1        46.8
New Mexico     3      370,402 +464.9% 3,456 1        24.1
Oklahoma     4      171,740 +144.7% 2,047 5        25.0
Colorado     5      167,832 +407.5% 1,414 2        18.2
Alaska     6      163,852 -25.1% 2,680 5        53.2
California     7      143,114 -28.6% 2,213 14        16.8
Wyoming     8      89,091 +65.3% 1,013 4        49.9
Louisiana     9      36,708 -45.7% 389 16        80.9
Utah     10      30,951 +25.5% 275 5        18.5
Kansas     11     28,260 -30.2% 313 3        23.2
Ohio    12      23,819 +399.1% 88 4        18.1
West Virginia     13      19,059 +934.7% 13 1        22.9
Montana     14      18,985 -25.1% 298 4        31.4
Mississippi     15      14,166 -40.9% 114 3        24.9
United States     –      4,129,563 +106.3% 44,191 129        22.8


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on’s website:

fructose imports

Global Fructose Imports Spike with Exploding Demand from China

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Fructose And Fructose Syrup – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Global imports of fructose and fructose syrup rose by +8.6% y-o-y to 4M tonnes in 2020. China has extraordinarily increased fructose purchases sixfold, driving out the leading importer, Mexico, from the first to the second place in the global import ranking. Thailand, Viet Nam and Myanmar remain the key suppliers of fructose to China. Outside these countries, Indonesia saw the highest growth rate in terms of supplies to China. 

Global Imports of Fructose and Fructose Syrup

In 2020, global imports of fructose and fructose syrup amounted to 4M tonnes, growing by +8.6% against 2019. In value terms, fructose imports amounted to $2.8B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

China (1,096K tonnes) and Mexico (825K tonnes) represented the major importers of fructose and fructose syrup in 2020, amounting to approx. 27% and 21% of total imports, respectively. Germany (203K tonnes) held the next position in the ranking, followed by the U.S. (202K tonnes). All these countries together held approx. 10% share of total imports. Indonesia (163K tonnes), the Netherlands (127K tonnes), Canada (107K tonnes), France (92K tonnes), South Korea (87K tonnes), the UK (77K tonnes), Thailand (73K tonnes) and Malaysia (70K tonnes) held a relatively small share of total imports.

In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the leading importing countries, was attained by China, while imports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest fructose importing markets worldwide were China ($422M), Mexico ($333M) and the U.S. ($230M), with a combined 36% share of global imports.

In 2020, the average fructose import price amounted to $693 per tonne, dropping by -7.9% against the previous year. Last year, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Canada, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports of Fructose and Fructose Syrup into China

The volume of fructose and fructose syrup imported into China surged from 173K tonnes in 2019 to 1.1M tonnes in 2020. In value terms, fructose imports skyrocketed from $89M in 2019 to $422M in 2020.

Thailand (507K tonnes), Viet Nam (272K tonnes) and Myanmar (112K tonnes) were the main suppliers of fructose imports to China, with a combined 81% share of total imports. These countries were followed by Malaysia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Indonesia, which together accounted for a further 16%.

In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the main suppliers, was attained by Indonesia and Thailand, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Thailand ($191M), Viet Nam ($101M) and Malaysia ($39M) constituted the largest fructose suppliers to China, together accounting for 78% of total imports.

Source: IndexBox Platform