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

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.”

toys

BORN TO TRADE

The stork brings more than babies

My husband and I welcomed our first child, a baby boy, in January. As we prepared for his arrival, we quickly learned that as first-time parents, we will be acquiring an enormous amount of baby stuff, in complete disproportion to the expected size of our newborn. Our apartment was rapidly inundated with a car seat, stroller, swing and Pack ‘n Play, playmats, toys, onesies, hats, pajamas, burp cloths, swaddles, bibs, a crib, a changing table, and of course, mounds of diapers and wipes.

The baby product industry is booming. Sales reached an estimated $10.9 billion in 2017 and are expected to reach $16.8 billion by 2025. And with the pressures placed on first-time moms to be the perfect parent, it’s no wonder we shell out thousands of dollars in the baby’s first year to keep them warm and safe, hoping to avoid the 3am cries as much as possible.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the annual spending on a child under two was $12,680 in 2015 (for a married couple with two children). While most of that spending was allocated to housing and child care, an average family still spent over $1,000 a year on baby products, excluding food.

No surprise, the three big components of baby-related expenditure – diapers, car seats and toys — are global industries.

Dry and clean derrieres

A first-time parent might be surprised by the number of diapers they will change in their child’s first year. At two and a half months, my son goes through 6-8 diapers a day, not including the occasional mishap affectionately known as a “poop explosion”. And while I applaud families that choose to use cloth reusable diapers, by necessity or out of eco-consciousness, we opted for disposable diapers in my family.

The global disposable diaper market is dominated by two brands – Pampers made by Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Huggies made by Kimberly-Clark. Together, the two companies control roughly 80 percent of the global disposable diaper market. The disposable diaper industry has been undergoing significant changes in recent decades, driven by a decline in birth rates in the West and increased demand in China and other emerging markets. Both P&G and Kimberly-Clark have complex supply chains that span dozens of facilities around the world to meet parental needs.

China only recently became a significant market for disposable diapers, with Pampers leading the way. In the 1990s, P&G launched a low-cost diaper brand in China that failed to make inroads locally. Recognizing that Chinese consumers valued the diaper’s softness and ability to absorb over price, the company reentered the market in 2010 with higher-end products targeted at China’s middle class, and sales have been growing strongly since. In 2018, diaper sale revenues in China reached $7.6 billion. American diaper producers are working to convince Chinese parents to ditch kaidangku, Chinese back split-pants, which allow young toddlers to squat anywhere. While kaidangku are still popular among China’s rural population, China’s middle class is rapidly adopting the disposable diaper lifestyle.

Strapped in for safety

Car seats are often one of the most expensive purchases new parents will make in the baby’s first year. Given the stringent safety requirements for baby car seats, large international brands generally do not face significant competition from low-cost, lower-quality brands.

The global car seat market was estimated at $7 billion in 2018, with infant seats representing 32 percent of global sales. Leading companies are headquartered around the world: Dorel, Quinny and Cosco are brands based in Canada; Artsana Group’s Chicco brand and Kiwi Baby are Italian; UPPAbaby and Newell Brands, which make Graco and Baby Jogger are based in the United States; Goodbaby, the maker of Cybex and Evenflo, is based in Hong Kong; Renolux is based in France, Mothercare in the U.K., and InfaSecure is headquartered in Australia – to name a few.

While the companies above are headquartered around the world, many of their brands are manufactured in China (a few high-end brands are also made in the United States). Over the last several years, the U.S. trade war with China placed significant pressure on the car seat industry. While the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) provided exemptions from Chinese tariffs to some safety products, including finished car seats, the components and materials used to manufacture the car seats did not receive the same treatment, placing increasing costs on U.S.-based car seat manufacturers. Advocating for an exemption for all baby safety products, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association argued that an increase in the costs of these products could put children, especially those in low-income families, at risk. And while the conclusion of the phase one trade negotiation with China suspended the tariffs, the risk to the industry remains.

Play time

You may be surprised to learn, much like my husband was, that toys play an important role in a baby’s development from their first weeks of life. Toys not only entertain, but they help develop key skills such as creativity, innovative thinking, and other important developmental milestones.

The global toy market dwarfs all other products for children, reaching $90.4 billion in 2018. The top seven toy companies in the world account for 55 percent of global toy sales. These include Mattel (with brands such as Barbie and Fisher-Price), Hasbro (making the Disney toys), Lego, and others. It’s estimated that 80 percent of all toys produced worldwide are manufactured in China and 85 percent of U.S. toy imports are from China. It’s no wonder that the trade war between the U.S. and China had a significant impact on the toy industry.

While the toy industry managed to avoid the 15 percent tariffs that were planned for December 2019 on Chinese-made toys, the tariff threats resulted in a turbulent environment for two large U.S. toy makers Hasbro and Mattel. Shares of both companies fell in late 2019, driven in part by the tariff uncertainty. As toy manufacturers generally operate with low margins in a highly volatile market driven by consumer preferences, most manufacturers are hoping for a long-term resolution of the trade tensions with China to ease their pressures ahead of the next holiday season.

A bottomless pit

As my son approaches three months, I am amazed at how quickly my purchasing habits have changed. I’m already thinking of our next car seat that can transition with him as he gets older, looking into the weight recommendations for different diaper sizes, and researching new toys to keep him (and myself) interested. And while we may slow down our purchasing to prevent a total baby takeover of our apartment, one thing is absolutely clear – we will always need to buy more diapers.

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Ayelet Haran is a contributor to TradeVistas. She is a government affairs and policy executive in the life sciences industry. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University.

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

Global Cement Market Reached $305B, With China Leading the Expansion

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

The global cement market revenue amounted to $305.4B in 2018, flattening at 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). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

Consumption By Country

China (2,363M tonnes) remains the largest cement consuming country worldwide, accounting for 58% of total volume. Moreover, cement consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, India (289M tonnes), eightfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by the U.S. (101M tonnes), with a 2.5% share. From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume in China totaled +5.2%.

Production 2007-2018

In 2018, the global cement production totaled 4,072M tonnes, growing by 1.8% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.6% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

In value terms, cement production amounted to $289.7B in 2018 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +2.6% from 2007 to 2018.

Production By Country

The country with the largest volume of cement production was China (2,370M tonnes), accounting for 58% of total volume. Moreover, cement production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, India (290M tonnes), eightfold. The U.S. (89M tonnes) ranked third in terms of total production with a 2.2% share.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of cement exported worldwide amounted to 113M tonnes, picking up by 12% against the previous year. In value terms, cement exports stood at $8.1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, cement exports, however, continue to indicate a slight decline.

Exports by Country

In 2018, China (7,314K tonnes), Germany (6,242K tonnes), Canada (6,241K tonnes), Viet Nam (6,196K tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (5,592K tonnes), Turkey (5,484K tonnes), Pakistan (4,190K tonnes), Greece (4,036K tonnes), Spain (3,657K tonnes), Japan (3,233K tonnes), Senegal (3,028K tonnes) and Slovakia (2,503K tonnes) were the main exporters of cement exported in the world, generating 51% of total export.

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

Export Prices by Country

The average cement export price stood at $72 per tonne in 2018, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. In general, the cement export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Germany ($83 per tonne), while Greece ($49 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of cement imported worldwide stood at 122M tonnes, going up by 11% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018. In value terms, cement imports stood at $8.9B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% from 2007 to 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, the U.S. (14M tonnes), followed by Sri Lanka (6,687K tonnes) represented the main importers of cement, together comprising 17% of total imports. China, Hong Kong SAR (5,399K tonnes), the Philippines (4,652K tonnes), Oman (4,509K tonnes), Singapore (4,382K tonnes), France (3,859K tonnes), the UK (3,430K tonnes), the Netherlands (3,320K tonnes), Palestine (2,706K tonnes), Cambodia (2,479K tonnes) and Mali (2,292K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

Imports into the U.S. increased at an average annual rate of +1.8% from 2007 to 2018. The Philippines (+3.8 p.p.), Sri Lanka (+3.8 p.p.), China, Hong Kong SAR (+3.4 p.p.), Oman (+3.4 p.p.), the U.S. (+2.1 p.p.) and Cambodia (+1.5 p.p.) significantly strengthened its position in terms of the global imports, while the shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average cement import price amounted to $73 per tonne, rising by 1.9% against the previous year. Overall, the cement import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was the Netherlands ($101 per tonne), while Singapore ($45 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Companies Mentioned

Lafarge Holcim , Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited , China National Building Materials (CNBM), China Resources Cement Holdings, HeidelbergCement AG, Cemex, S.A. de C.V., Saint-Gobain, Ambuja Cements, Italcementi, Votorantim Cimentos

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

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

4PL

ONE, TWO, 3PL … or 4PL? DETERMINING WHICH MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

The supply chain ecosystem is becoming more demanding as consumers are conditioned to expect nearly instantaneous free shipping and where order delays can inflict serious damage to brands. As a result, shippers must carefully select their supply chain partners, as their performance has a much greater potential impact on customer satisfaction and the bottom line than ever before.

However, shippers are often perplexed when faced with the choice of partnering with a 3PL or 4PL to tackle their logistics and transportation challenges.

“Every shipper is unique, but many face the same challenges and share the same goals: reducing costs, optimizing their network, consolidating shipments, changing behaviors, improving customer service, and improving visibility, to name a few,” says Ross Spanier, senior vice president of Sales and Solutions at GlobalTranz, a Phoenix, Arizona-based tech company that provides a cloud-based, multimodal transportation management system (TMS) to shippers, carriers and brokers.

“The common thread that links these challenges and goals is data,” Spanier continues, “and many companies lack the data they need to make truly informed business decisions.”

He should know. Spanier brings more than 17 years of experience—which includes stops at C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services—to the discussion of 3PL versus 4PL partnerships. Shippers, he maintains, should focus on the capabilities of the prospective partner and seek out partners that combine the technology, people, multimodal services and solutions they need to in gain a competitive advantage.

“Many shippers really cannot afford to staff and maintain an internal transportation and logistics team,” he notes. “Finding a partner that can act as an extension of their business is key. It’s also extremely important to make sure your partner can provide technology and experience in implementation, execution and integration. That can be a significant cost and a disruption for businesses that attempt to do that by themselves.”

Whether you’re a medium-sized business or listed on the Fortune 1000 annual list, deciding between a 3PL and a 4PL sets the stage for all moving parts.

“A common misunderstanding is that a 3PL is just a broker, when the reality is they can be much more than that,” Spanier says. “At GlobalTranz, our managed solutions are a great example of that. We can offer a more strategic and consultative approach for our customers including having ‘skin in the game’ on the broker side, where we’re taking on pricing commitments, service level commitments, managing the risks and owning the contracts.

“Many times, that is one of the common misunderstandings because a 3PL can act very strategically with customers and not necessarily need a fourth party. The 4PL typically offers strategic insights and management of a company’s entire supply chain, and often if one goes back to the question of ‘what is the difference between a 3PL and 4PL,’ 4PLs are the right fit for much more mature, large or complex organizations.”

GlobalTranz positions itself as a leader in customized solutions for a wide variety of shippers across many industry verticals. From LTL to truckload, final mile or white-glove service, intermodal, ocean, air, and cross-border Mexico transportation … are all part of the GlobalTranz offering. In addition, the company offers an award-winning TMS. The company takes pride in collaborative efforts between the people driving their technology as an integrated solution offered to their customer base.

“Whether a customer is best-suited for a 3PL or 4PL solution is typically not already known when we walk in the door, Spanier explains. “We like to show where a customer can gain the most value based on the solution and its capabilities. More times than not, it’s about voicing that to the customer and understanding where their constraints are and how we can put a solution together–a 3PL or a 4PL solution.”

GlobalTranz boasts a different approach when it comes to serving its customer base. Its robust managed solutions offerings serve a variety of needs that can be tailored upon identifying where the client’s business needs it the most. The experts at GlobalTranz take the process of solution identification one step further by evaluating the needs and configuring a solution from there. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, which is exactly how GlobalTranz separates itself from the rest as a leader in logistics solutions–whether that be a 3PL or 4PL solution.

“People, processes, and technology are important, and it’s crucial to establish relationships and communications that are aligned with company goals,” Spanier contends. “Without strong relationships in place, technology and process won’t deliver the needed support or what they’re looking to get out of a partner. When you have a customer looking at a 3PL solution, you want to make sure that a 3PL has the ability to bring in carriers no matter what markets they operate in. This is critical because they may be in one market today but with growth, both organic and through acquisitions, and the changing dynamics in customer demand and expectations, the footprint could expand and it’s important to have a partner that is quick to react and agile in respect to their carrier partners as well.”

So, when deciding on what makes the most sense for your business, consider partners that not only provide solutions but are agile and customizable based on specific business goals.

_______________________________________________________________

As the GlobalTranz Senior Vice President of Sales and Solutions, Ross Spanier leads the enterprise sales organization as well as the design and delivery of innovative and customized supply chain solutions that drive efficiency, cost savings and competitive advantages for current and prospective customers. With more than 15 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics industry, Spanier has developed and grown sales and operations teams specializing in best-in-class service execution of LTL, TL, expedite, supply chain management, projects & heavy haul, white glove and managed transportation service lines. Prior to joining GlobalTranz in 2017, he held sales and operations leadership roles at both C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services (LPS).

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.

_______________________________________________________________

*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

congress

DRIVING CONGRESS TO ACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY TARIFFS

Volkswagen GTI is turbocharged with room for…tariffs?

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a perennial winner of Car and Driver’s 10Best award. The German-built sport hatchback combines “speed, handling, build quality, an attractive interior, and room for the family,” all for under $30,000. Car and Driver raves about the GTI’s turbocharged engine and notes it’s a formidable challenger to competing “hot hatches.”

Apparently, the U.S. Department of Commerce believes that the GTI poses another challenge — maybe a turbocharged threat to America’s national security.

In a still-confidential 2019 report, the Department reportedly found that imported autos like the GTI “threaten to impair the national security” and recommended that the president impose tariffs as high as 25 percent.

All revved up

The president would enact these tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. As TradeVistas’ Andrea Durkin has detailed, Section 232 is a little-used Cold War-era law under which Congress delegated broad authority to the president to restrict imports for national security reasons. The law is also the basis for current controversial duties on steel and aluminum.

The proposed tariffs have generated opposition from vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, economic analysts and members of Congress. The Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers notes that a 25 percent tariff on autos and parts would raise the price of an average imported car by an estimated $6,000 (and add $2,000 to a U.S.-built car) while potentially leading to the loss of over 600,000 American jobs. The Association of Global Automakers (now merged with the Auto Alliance to form the Alliance for Automotive Innovation) questions how passenger cars and light trucks are relevant to national security, suggesting that “America does not go to war in a Ford Fiesta.” Statements from Administration officials suggest that the “national security” justification for auto tariffs may be a pretext to gain negotiating leverage in other contexts.

Sourcing of US Light Vehicle Sales 2017

Congress may put the brakes on Presidential tariffs

With the possible exception of avid inventor Ben Franklin, America’s founders would be astounded by the GTI. They might be equally astonished, however, by the Trump Administration’s assertion of broad authority to impose tariffs. After fighting a revolution against “taxation without representation,” the founders believed it was vital to entrust the power to impose tariffs and other taxes to the people’s representatives. Specifically, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution vests Congress with the “power to lay and collect taxes [and] duties.”

Since 1934, after its disastrous experience with the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, Congress has increasingly delegated specific trade and tariff powers to the president, subject to a variety of limitations. Presidents have generally used these powers judiciously and to reduce tariffs to expand trade. For example, when President Kennedy signed the 1962 Trade Expansion Act (which enacted Section 232), he emphasized the importance of opening trade and reducing trade barriers and warned against “stagnating behind tariff walls.”

President Trump has taken a maximalist approach to his delegated powers to impose tariffs, particularly for “national security” reasons. In response, Congressional critics from both parties point out that under the Constitution, Congress should be the ultimate driver of tariffs, not the president.

Other concerns with the Administration’s application of national security tariffs include a lack of transparency in determining tariffs and administering tariff exclusions, its use of an overly broad definition of national security, and the cascading impacts on U.S. producers from higher metal prices. Legal experts are also concerned that the Administration did not follow the law when it imposed new tariffs on derivative steel products (including nails and bumpers) and when it extended its review of auto tariffs when time limits under Section 232 have likely expired.

Cost of Autos 232 Tariffs

Time for a trade law tune-up?

Congress could rein in presidential national security tariffs by simply repealing Section 232. However, even critics of current tariffs recognize that there are circumstances where the president might need authority to adjust trade in response to national security threats. Accordingly, Congress has focused instead on bipartisan proposals to place additional limits on the president’s ability to employ Section 232.

The Trade Security Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), would bifurcate the Section 232 process. The Department of Defense (DoD) would first investigate whether there is a national security basis for restricting imports of an article. If DoD finds that an article poses a security threat and the president decides to act, the Commerce Department would then recommend tariffs or other measures to address the threat. The Portman-Kind bill would also enable Congress to disapprove any Section 232 trade restriction imposed by the president through a resolution of disapproval that would itself be subject to a veto by the president. This legislation would not impact current Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019introduced by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) would also require DoD to take the lead in investigating whether an article poses a national security threat, while also adopting a tighter definition of national security. Notably, under this legislation, no proposed Section 232 action by the president could take effect unless Congress first passes a resolution of approval. The Toomey-Gallagher bill would also (i) repeal current steel and aluminum duties unless Congress passes an expedited resolution of approval, (ii) direct the independent U.S. International Trade Commission to report to Congress on the economic impacts of Section 232 actions, and (iii) require that the USITC administer the tariff exclusion process for future Section 232 actions.

Two bills in Congress to brake 232

Getting out of neutral

For the past year, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been attempting to meld the Portman and Toomey bills into a compromise measure that would attract veto-proof majorities in Congress. Despite considerable bipartisan support, Grassley notes that this effort has faced two challenges. First, there’s opposition from Republicans who see the legislation as a rebuke of President Trump. Second — as any student of U.S. trade history could have predicted —interests that benefit from new national security tariffs are now lobbying intensely to retain these tariffs. Despite this opposition, Grassley has vowed to continue efforts to enact Section 232 reform in 2020.

More potholes ahead?

Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s GTI and other imported autos will continue to face the threat of national security tariffs. And that threat won’t necessarily subside if a Democratic president takes office next year. Some Democrats have already proposed using the Trump Administration’s expansive reading of Section 232 to advance their own policy goals — particularly to address the climate crisis. Carbon-emitting autos like the GTI would be a prime target for new tariffs.

The GTI was designed for Germany’s smooth, high-speed autobahns. When it comes to U.S. national security tariffs, however, the GTI’s road ahead may continue to be full of potholes.

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Ed Gerwin

Ed Gerwin is a lawyer, trade consultant, and President of Trade Guru LLC.

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

Folding Boxboard

The EU Folding Boxboard Market Reached $9.6B

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

The revenue of the folding boxboard market in the European Union amounted to $9.6B in 2018, growing by 7.9% 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). Overall, folding boxboard consumption continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2011 when the market value increased by 8% year-to-year. In that year, the folding boxboard market attained its peak level of $10.7B. From 2012 to 2018, the growth of the folding boxboard market remained at a lower figure.

Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of folding boxboard consumption in 2018 were Germany (1.1M tonnes), Poland (1M tonnes) and France (1M tonnes), with a combined 40% share of total consumption.

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

In value terms, the largest folding boxboard markets in the European Union were Germany ($1.4B), Poland ($1.3B) and France ($1.3B), with a combined 41% share of the total market.

In 2018, the highest levels of folding boxboard per capita consumption was registered in Austria (63 kg per person), followed by Poland (27 kg per person), the Netherlands (21 kg per person) and Italy (17 kg per person), while the world average per capita consumption of folding boxboard was estimated at 15 kg per person.

Market Forecast to 2030

Driven by increasing demand for folding boxboard 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 +1.8% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 9.8M tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production in the EU

In 2018, approx. 12M tonnes of folding boxboard were produced in the European Union; picking up by 1.6% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.5% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 with an increase of 7.6% y-o-y. Over the period under review, folding boxboard production attained its peak figure volume in 2018 and is likely to continue its growth in the near future.

Production by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of folding boxboard production in 2018 were Sweden (3.1M tonnes), Finland (2.8M tonnes) and Germany (1.8M tonnes), with a combined 64% share of total production. Italy, Austria, Poland and France lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 24%.

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

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of folding boxboard exported in the European Union totaled 11M tonnes, approximately equating the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. In value terms, folding boxboard exports totaled $13.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

The exports of the three major exporters of folding boxboard, namely Sweden, Finland and Germany, represented more than two-thirds of total export. Italy (503K tonnes), Belgium (461K tonnes), Austria (363K tonnes), Poland (350K tonnes), France (341K tonnes), the Netherlands (319K tonnes), Spain (295K tonnes), Slovenia (233K tonnes) and the UK (214K tonnes) held a minor 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 Belgium, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Sweden ($3.1B), Finland ($2.8B) and Germany ($2.8B) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2018, together comprising 66% of total exports. Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Austria, the UK and Slovenia lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 30%.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the folding boxboard export price in the European Union amounted to $1,160 per tonne, jumping by 5.1% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the folding boxboard export price, however, continues to indicate a slight reduction. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2011 when the export price increased by 12% year-to-year. In that year, the export prices for folding boxboard reached their peak level of $1,471 per tonne. From 2012 to 2018, the growth in terms of the export prices for folding boxboard remained 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 Poland ($1,711 per tonne), while Slovenia ($753 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Imports in the EU

The imports totaled 7.3M tonnes in 2018, approximately mirroring the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.5% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010 when imports increased by 14% against the previous year. The volume of imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term. In value terms, folding boxboard imports amounted to $8.9B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (1.4M tonnes), distantly followed by the UK (768K tonnes), Italy (743K tonnes), France (678K tonnes), Poland (671K tonnes), Spain (546K tonnes), the Netherlands (541K tonnes) and Belgium (462K tonnes) represented the main importers of folding boxboard, together mixing up 79% of total imports. The Czech Republic (208K tonnes), Austria (190K tonnes), Portugal (159K tonnes) and Hungary (139K tonnes) took a little share of total imports.

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

In value terms, Germany ($1.7B), the UK ($928M) and Italy ($849M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, with a combined 38% share of total imports. These countries were followed by France, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Hungary, which together accounted for a further 49%.

Import Prices by Country

The folding boxboard import price in the European Union stood at $1,217 per tonne in 2018, increasing by 7.7% against the previous year. In general, the folding boxboard import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 when the import price increased by 12% y-o-y. In that year, the import prices for folding boxboard reached their peak level of $1,458 per tonne. From 2012 to 2018, the growth in terms of the import prices for folding boxboard remained at a lower figure.

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, major importing countries recorded the following prices: in Austria ($1,416 per tonne) and Portugal ($1,407 per tonne), while the Czech Republic ($1,125 per tonne) and Belgium ($1,136 per tonne) were 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 a decline in the import price figures.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

trade finance

Industry Advocacy Required to Enable Trade Finance Market Access and Growth

In a whitepaper released last year, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) urged the trade finance industry to work together to ensure that regulation does not hinder the availability of trade finance. Olivier Paul, Director, Finance for Development at ICC, explains how a fair regulatory environment across regions is key to the industry’s growth.

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007, regulation and compliance requirements have had the unintended consequence of negatively impacting trade finance provision. As banks adapt to ever greater compliance and regulatory requirements, they seek to minimize risk by reducing their number of correspondent banking relationships. This phenomenon, known as “de-risking”, especially affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in emerging markets that need financing the most.

Accessing adequate trade finance is already tough for SMEs, who often lack the collateral, documented history of past transactions and knowledge of the financial instruments available to them. This has led to a US$1.5 trillion gap between the demand and supply of trade finance – or gap – as SMEs find themselves most neglected by financiers.

In its report, Banking regulation and the campaign to mitigate the unintended consequences for trade finance, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) outlines how some post-crisis banking regulation has unintentionally led to the widening of this trade finance gap. The report argues that industry advocacy is necessary to ensure fairer treatment of trade finance, as several examples already demonstrate.

Unintended Consequences and Successful Advocacy

Despite well-meaning capital and liquidity requirements contributing to the resilience of the financial system, they have also limited banks’ ability to invest in cross-border relationships, leading to concerns relating to the treatment of trade finance instruments across regions.

For example, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced the third installment of the Basel Accords – a set of international banking regulation recommendations – in 2010. However, the BCBS does not have the authority to enforce its recommendations, leaving national – or supranational – institutions to write the recommendations into law.

What’s more, these recommendations allow significant room for interpretation, allowing each jurisdiction to adapt them accordingly. This results in inconsistencies across jurisdictions, leaving emerging market banks subject to the resulting ambiguity.

In particular, the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) for financial instruments supporting trade finance caused concern among many industry practitioners. The European Commission and Council, as well as the European Banking Authority, recommended that NSFR have a variable rate of 5%-15% depending on the maturity of the transaction. In many jurisdictions outside the European Union, however, the NSFR rate is either flat – at a maximum level of 5% – or non-existent.

This represented a clear disadvantage, and one affecting the whole market. As such, the industry-led by ICC – advocated for a fairer treatment of NSFR ratios for trade finance. This resulted in a significant reduction in the spectrum of rates which now stand at 5% for a transaction maturity of under six months, 7.5% for a transaction maturity of under a year, and 10% for maturity of over 12 months.

Early Start

To ensure the highest success rate, it is essential that discussions between industry members and regulatory authorities take place at the earliest stages of the decision-making process. With regulatory adoption and implementation processes taking up to a decade in some cases, the industry must work together with regulators and maintain a proactive approach to promoting fair regulatory treatment of trade finance.

The document outlining the finalization of the Basel III framework was published in 2017 but will only be enforced between 2022 and 2027. Action is needed today if the industry’s voice is to be heard and acted on.

Banks have already identified several areas relating to trade finance – such as the treatment of unconditionally cancellable commitments, the minimum durations to calculate risk-weighted assets and the treatment of subsidiaries in large groups – where discussion is needed. Over the next few years, banks and industry bodies will need to engage with these topics, as national regulators translate the finalization package into national legislation.

Next steps

Some 80% of international trade flows involve the recourse to a financial instrument, according to the World Trade Organization. To encourage the use of trade finance worldwide – and ensure the widest market access especially for SMEs – harmonization of regulations will be required.

Much work has already been done to promote the fair treatment of trade finance within banking regulations. However, regulations will not adapt unless all stakeholders voice their concerns. It is up to the entire industry – and ICC, as the largest and most authoritative voice in trade finance – to be at the forefront of this work.