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Most Affected Industries By US-China Trade War

industries

Most Affected Industries By US-China Trade War

Since Donald Trump became president, the US and Chinese governments have been at loggerheads after the Trump administration started imposing hiked tariffs on goods coming from China. This came hot on the heels of a trade deal that the two governments had been negotiating on, a deal that was supposed to strengthen trade between the two global economic powerhouses. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods are now being tariffed at 25%, up from 10%. China is threatening to come up with stringent countermeasures, which threatens to precipitate a full-blown trade war.

Trade experts are predicting that American companies that import goods from China will be paying unreasonably hefty taxes to their government by 2020. That could cripple their operations.

This trade tension has precipitated many harsh and far-reaching consequences. Manufacturers and importers in the US are now cutting costs, postponing key business deals, and putting off investments in a bid to cushion the business-crippling impact of the trade wars. Moody’s Analytics- an American economic research firm- estimates that this has already cost 300,000 Americans their jobs and if things don’t change for the better, more than 450,000 job opportunities will have been quashed by the end of 2019. This impact is being felt across industries, although some industries have been affected more than others. Here are some of these industries:

The Energy Sector

Steel and aluminum are very important to America’s energy sector. They are used to construct oil pipelines, to build solar panels, to distribute electric power- you name it! President Trump has proposed an additional tax on aluminum and steel imports from China, which has already caused the country’s energy PD to hike significantly. Projects in the energy sector will keep getting pricier, which in turn will force consumers to pay higher prices for clean energy. If the price gets out of hand, there is a serious danger of many Americans ditching the expensive clean energy for the cheaper dirty energy.

Automobiles

American automakers sell most of their products in the Chinese market. In 2018, as a countermeasure, the Chinese government raised tariffs from 15% to 40% for all automobiles entering its market from the US. This hasn’t affected the Chinese so much, bearing in mind that the Asian nation has a thriving automobile sector that can satisfy the local market.

On the other hand, American electric automakers including Tesla Inc. (TSLA) will be feeling the pinch in the long run if the China-US trade tension deteriorates. Auto parts sellers will also stand to lose if the situation won’t improve. That being said, things are looking up for this industry as the Chinese government promised to suspend the tariffs as an act of goodwill. If the US could return the gesture, fortunes are likely to turn in favor of American automakers.

Translation Industry

Digital technology has allowed many American firms to expand their products and services in China. The Asian market helps companies from the west to generate a consistent growth rate of 4-5% per annum, sometimes more. That is why localization services have become very marketable in the recent past: If you want to expand in China, you should consider hiring professional translation services to handle all your localization projects, failure to which you could greatly hurt your chances of understanding or impressing your Chinese customers. But then with the growing trade tension, lesser companies will be keen to move to China in the future, which will mean lesser need for translation services. The translation industry in China could really suffer going forward.

Food and Agribusiness

The Chinese government cut off imports of corn, soybeans, nuts, lobster, and other farm products from the US. The American farmers are now struggling to find a market for their produce, which has, in turn, affected their productivity. Tractor manufacturers and farm input sellers are also feeling the pinch. Processed food companies in the US might be forced to lay off workers and close some of their processing plants if things remain as they are.

Tech Sector

Most tech companies in the US have opened shops in China, some of them including NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) and Intel Corp. (INTC). Chinese tech manufacturers, on the other hand, depend on American semiconductor suppliers to run their businesses. An escalation in the U.S.-China trade war could really hurt tech traders in both countries.

Conclusion

The tension between the U.S. and Chinese officials could end up hurting key industries in both economies. It could be a battle over who will control international trade, but it can easily boil over and become counterproductive. The sad thing is that no one really knows for sure if the tension will rage on or we still are going to witness more draconian tariffs. Only time will tell.

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.”

Recovered fibre pulp

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

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

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

Market Forecast 2019-2025 in China

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

Production in China

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

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

Exports from China

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

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

Exports by Country

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

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

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

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

Export Prices by Country

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

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

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

Imports into China

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

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

Imports by Country

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

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

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

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

Import Prices by Country

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

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

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

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

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.

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

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.

costs

10 Tips for Cutting Costs and Improve Customer Service in Supply Chain Logistics

As organizations continue to create and source raw materials from overseas, controlling expenses remains the number one priority for players involved in international trade.

One critical factor that executives should monitor closely is logistics management. This sector covers important activities relating to procurement, transport, and storage of goods. In most industries, supply chain logistics account for 5% to 50% of a product’s total cost.

Some of the issues that affect logistics costs include fuel prices, complex international trade laws, and security. High transportation fees are mainly caused by high fuel prices delays in ports. Complex international trade laws increase warehousing costs by lengthening delivery times.

As technology evaluation.com reports, air-freight shipment takes about eight to twelve days. During these days, the cargo is on ф route around 5% of the time. 95% of the time is spent lying in warehouses waiting for compliance checks and documents. So, how can you cut down costs and improve customer service in supply logistics? Keep reading!

1. Use your space efficiently

Using your space efficiently will save you a lot of money in the long run. As you already know, storing your supplies in a warehouse comes at a cost. Figure out whether you are making the most out of your space or not.

You might discover other ways of finding spaces that are best suited for your business. As we’ve seen, supplies, spend most of their time in warehouses waiting for compliance checks. The more efficient you are at warehousing; the more profits you’ll generate at the end of the day.

2.  Automate your processes

Organizations that use technology solutions to automate compliance processes have the power to speed up the process four times as much compared to organizations that rely on manual work. Automating tasks such as document preparation will eliminate expensive mistakes and errors.

Automating your processes also leads to fewer delays at crossing points thus resulting in timely deliveries, increased customer satisfaction and avoidance of expensive fines.

3. Inform decision-makers

According to dissertation service, providing decision-makers or your customers with the costs of freight associated with each service level, the reliability of every lane and the total cost of transporting inventory will make it easier for them to make informed decisions and work with you in the future. In most cases, your customers will select the cheapest option that complies with the laws to meet their needs.

4. Figure out the real costs of sourcing overseas

Before sourcing overseas, you need to calculate freight, brokerage, duty, and transportation costs to support these long supply chains. You should factor in other costs such as engineers flying overseas. Once you figure out the total landed cost and its impact on your business, you might discover that domestic buy is quite attractive. For instance, sourcing from Ohio to your plant in the US might be cheaper in the long run compared to sourcing from China.

5. JIT inventory management

There are many benefits to implementing Just-in-Time inventory management. With this system, you can order and receive inventory only when you need to. In the long run, this will reduce your inventory transportation costs, protect against write-downs attributed to dips and eliminate unnecessary overhead costs caused by excess inventory.

6. Sales and operations planning

For a supply chain to function at its highest efficiency, sales, and operations planning is required. Optimal performance greatly depends on creating proper plans. However, it can be complicated and expensive in the long run.

By working with a third-party logistics provider, your team will eliminate waste and redundancies thus enabling you to analyze data, forecast and enhance visibility so that everyone is involved. During the sales and operations planning process, you should address issues such as unrestrained stock-outs, obsolete inventory, inaccurate forecasts and adjusting demand and production schedules.

7. Package your products well

Packaging your products well will result in less or no damages during the shipping process. Ensuring that the people responsible for packaging your products do it properly will minimize quality costs and build your reputation. As the saying goes, it’s the smallest things that matter the most.

8. Assess your performance

You have to measure the performance of your strategies to forge the way forward. Doing business without assessing your performance regularly is a recipe for disaster. By not assessing your performance, you’ll have a hard time determining how much money you are spending and saving. Come up with your key performance indicators and gauge how well your business is doing.

9. Eliminate variability during transit times

The more variable the transit times, the higher the likelihood that the receiving party is using premium freight, ordering more quantity than is necessary to compensate for the uncertainty of creating buffers of inventory. When you understand these dynamics, you’ll realize that paying for higher freight costs will enhance variability and save your company loads of cash in the long run.

10. Choose your mode of transport.

Which mode of transport is the cheapest? Trains? Airplanes? Automobiles? In most cases, rail is cheaper when transporting bulky goods than air or trucking. Also, water is cheaper than air. Regardless of the delivery model, it’s important to get all the quotes from different modes of transport available.

Conclusion

Managing a supply chain logistics company is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You have to make the right move every time out to avoid expensive mistakes and losses. The ten tips discussed above will help you reduce your costs and grow your business. You owe it to yourself to assess your situation and determine what needs to be changed or implemented.

_____________________________________________________________

This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

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

google

How World-Class Amazon, Apple & Google Have Built Successful Cultures

Every small business wants to be the next Amazon—or the next Apple or Google. Their products and services, as well as their growth and profit margins, are the envy of all. But it is their company cultures that drive their success. After all, without the brain trust and boots on the ground, those enterprises would have remained small and insignificant. Now, everybody wants to work for them. Why?

Their trendy work campuses capture headlines and imaginations, but location and environment are just veneers for the culture they contain. Yet, these headquarters are also extensions of brand. From Apple’s “spaceship” park to Amazon’s geodesic Spheres and Google’s playful Silicon Valley campus, the looks of these businesses reflect brands driven first and foremost by people-centric cultures.

It may seem skewed in priority to place workers before the actual work being done. But if we want to benefit from the lessons of these top organizations, we will focus on culture the way they do. As global competition for talent increases, this is the formula that works.

You can begin to build a better talent infrastructure by working on the seven “pillars” of good culture I’ve identified through researching leading companies. These include how organizations handle transparency, positivity, measurement, acknowledgment, uniqueness, listening, and mistakes. The examples of Amazon and friends, however, are worth studying in more detail. A few key techniques and best practices that these three amigos share warrant special consideration.

Transparency Is Clarity

The design of Amazon’s Spheres addition to its Seattle workplace campus is meant to inject nature into the business environment. But the glass-and-steel structure also embodies the company’s commitment to transparency. Three linked geodesic domes leave precious little in the dark—which is also the way to enable employees to do their best work.

Amazon, Apple, and Google use transparency in two major ways. First, they attract talent that aligns with their stated mission and values. They make these goals and guiding lights clear to all job candidates, weeding out of contention folks who won’t row with the crew. This creates a cohesive workforce that is dedicated to being part of the brand.

This both reveals and capitalizes on the companies’ uniqueness. They all stand out from the crowd. One way that our businesses can do this is to concentrate on hiring for a fit with our core values and a prevailing attitude. Using personality tests to assess potential hires for their inclinations and motivations can help standardize an otherwise subjective practice and get the right people in the right seats.

Second, these companies use technology to employees’ advantage. Access to relevant and accurate information is critical to their job roles, and these high-tech firms know how to centralize data. Amazon even launched a business service called the Transparency Program, which helps brand owners thwart counterfeiting and intellectual property theft.

But the retailer’s greatest wielding of transparency is most visible in its delivery services. Moving vast volumes of merchandise to their destinations requires an intricate web of logistics. Small businesses can imitate that command of information-sharing by giving workers open access to the details they need and the people in the company who can best assist them.

Positivity Is Power

One look at Apple’s massive, ring-shaped Campus 2 tells you how strong the tech giant really is. More than a mile in circumference, the structure’s powerful curved lines reveal something about the company’s working ethos. And any enterprise dependent on innovation would be wise to adopt the Apple staff’s positive mindset.

Because the business world is dynamic and markets fluctuate, many organizations find themselves reacting to problems and challenges rather than proactively getting out in front of them. That’s only a recipe for more of the same. Top companies like Apple and Google employ a positive approach to planning, pursuing goals, and solving problems called appreciative inquiry.

This model optimizes a team’s strengths while ferreting out less successful strategies that can tank morale. Appreciative inquiry adds a methodical element to what might otherwise be chaotic, and a means to innovate that could easily be squelched by negativity or repeated failure. It gives workers a sense of accomplishment, even when actual gains may be small.

The central technique involves four stages: discovery, dreaming, design, and destiny. This 4-D Cycle prompts teams to discover what is working for them, so they can preserve and expand upon it. Next, they dream big and imagine their ideal outcome. From there, they select a likely path and design systems or steps to move them forward. Finally, they do what it takes to achieve that destiny.

Becoming agile in this approach gives small businesses a way to break the cycle of putting out fires and watching morale sink. It sets a positive tone that can be echoed in every other area of planning and workflow. And it’s self-perpetuating: one accomplishment prepares the team for its next success.

Numbers Instill Confidence

Visiting Google’s eclectic California headquarters may seem like downing one gigantic energy drink, with something impish rushing around every corner. From fleets of brightly colored communal bicycles to a statue park of oversized sweets named after the company’s android inventions, the vibe is Google’s brand—and the brand is utterly self-confident. Here is a business that knows exactly who it is and why it exists.

This sense of definition extends to its talent. Most small businesses have only fuzzy outlines to their image. That’s because most of us allow culture to form rather than intentionally building it. Job candidates can sense this, and they will be drawn first to companies with strong, distinct personalities. Google, and other companies that cultivate the cultures they want, enjoy attention from people who want that too.

This begins with articulating a mission and vision that inspire. It continues through identifying the best-performing employees and attempting to attract more like them. Google does this via data collection and analysis. Having created the foundation, they could take a deep dive into assessing which parts of culture work best and why.

With a legion of employees, Google was able to conduct a two-year study with a decent sample size that showed them which psychological conditions are likely to coalesce with the company’s mission and values—not just to create a happy workplace, but to create the best support system possible in which to perform work. This is the essence of culture at its best.

Google’s study found that successful outcomes correlated to the satisfaction of certain human needs, foremost of which was psychological safety. Workers needed to feel confident in taking risks, free of judgment or possible sanction. This let them stretch and sometimes fail—but ultimately innovate. From this confidence stemmed other areas of fulfillment, such as being able to depend on coworkers and to clearly understand the company’s expectations of them, which also helped teams achieve their goals.

Revealing these key conditions and the high performance that resulted from them allowed Google to continue to monitor variables and outcomes for further insights. The numbers instilled confidence in how the company manages its culture, which in turn lets it promote those traits when recruiting talent. Along with Apple and Amazon, Google leaders have embraced culture as a way to draw the best people—and they never let their employees forget who it is that makes those organizations successful.

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Leadership speaker Chris Dyer is a recognised performance and company culture expert, Founder and CEO of PeopleG2 and author of The Power of Company Culture (Kogan Page, 2018).