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LONDON: April 27, 2016. International delivery company Parcel Hero calculates that should Britain withdraw from the European Union it will cost the country £11 billion in extra tariffs on an import volume of £220 billion.

The company says the cost of consumer goods will rise by around 32 percent if the UK follows the Norway model. Currently a typical pair of Levis 501 jeans that costs £56 in the UK costs £71 in Norway and £81 in Switzerland; and a £59 pair of Nike shoes costs £77 in Norway and £88 in Switzerland.

According to report author David Jinks, Parcel Hero head of Consumer Research, while much of the 'Brexit' debate has been focused on sovereignty and immigration, the most immediate and noticeable impact of any departure would be a significant increase in the cost of sending and receiving items with Europe and beyond.

Parcel Hero 1The report says that a rise in delivery fees and higher import costs following a UK exit will hit SMEs and start-ups particularly hard while making it more expensive for UK Internet retailers and online marketplace traders to do business with the EU.

"What might look like an exit could in fact become a wall between the UK and EU," said Jinks.

Once Britain is outside the EU, Parcel Hero expects a 30 percent rise in the cost of importing goods. The company breaks this down to an average 5.0-9.0 percent increase in the dutiable price of an item; plus VAT of 20 percent when buying from countries within the EU; increased transport costs; and additional 'Customs clearance' charges.

This will result in an extra cost of £163,000 for an SME based in Britain as the price of a typical £150 purchase from the EU would rise to around £195, says the report.

Parcel Hero lists other negative outcomes apparently overlooked by politicians advocating a Brexit including:
• Businesses and consumers will face a mass of new red tape: Customs forms with proof of origin for every shipment arriving in the UK would be required.
• SMEs and Internet traders will find EU suppliers three times more likely to prefer to trade elsewhere in the EU than with the UK.
• British exporters seeking to price goods competitively could easily fall foul of the Union's protectionist anti-dumping rules and face extra duties.
• Britain might not qualify for the many favorable trade agreements negotiated by the Union with key countries and markets around the world, including the planned TTIP between the U.S. and EU aimed at removing.

"If the UK votes leave the European Union, it could result in a 'perfect storm' scenario in which there could be significant issues with Customs and taxes that could impact on both the people and businesses of the UK and those wishing to deliver into the country. This would undoubtedly make an independent UK a less attractive market," Jinks added.

OXFORD, UK: April 19, 2016: Nine of the 10 global food and beverage companies have improved land rights policies, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and gender equality in their supply chains according to Oxfam.

Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever generate revenues of more than US$1.1 billion per day and their supply chains are linked to every part of the global food system.

In the three years since Oxfam began measuring the companies with its “Behind the Brands” scorecard, it says only ABF has failed to improve by more than 10 percent per annum. Kellogg (up 30 percent) and Unilever (up 26 percent) have made the most progress across all themes since the campaign began. 

Unilever RotterdamIn 2013 Oxfam found most of the 10 companies were lagging in their approach to social responsibility and supply chain sustainability with seven of the ten producing overall scores of 31 percent or below. In its latest scorecard, no company scores below 36 percent.

“These food industry giants all demonstrated that they do listen to consumers by making some bold policy commitments. We hope this will inspire others to follow suit,” said Behind the Brands campaign manager, Monique van Zijl.

Throughout the three-year period Unilever and Nestlé have led their peers with high scores on climate change. Coca-Cola, with strong policies on land rights, remains third at 57 percent, followed by Kellogg at 53 percent. ABF, with weak commitments on farmers, gender and water, was in last place in 2013 and remains one of the poorest performers this year with 36 percent. Danone is the other poorest performer despite significant commitments on climate says Oxfam.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said the results reflect the progress the company is making to reduce its environmental footprint while increasing its social impact: “The FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industry as a whole has made some strong commitments in recent years, notably in terms of value chain approach. However, we must recognize that there is still much more to be done.

“The Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement have provided us with a global framework towards progress, but [it] can only be achieved through accelerated partnerships and collective action to drive truly transformative change at scale,” he added.

NEW YORK: April 22, 2016. As representatives from over 170 countries gathered at the United Nations to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, global brands including IKEA, Mars, PG&E, Salesforce, General Mills, Kellogg Company, HP, Unilever and Starbucks have called on U.S. leaders to invest in a low-carbon economy to boost investor confidence worldwide.

“The Paris Agreement represents a turning point for business. It is the beginning of the long-term framework needed for business to transform their operations and invest in low carbon products and services for the future,” said Steve Howard, IKEA’s chief sustainability officer.Now it is time to translate this framework into clear policies and actions. At IKEA, we are committed to do our part. By 2020 we will produce as much renewable energy as the energy we consume in our own operations.”

NOAANoticeably absent from the list of 110 companies that have declared a commitment to a low-carbon future are members of the logistics industry.

The U.N. signing follows a report by the World Meteorological Association (WMO) saying results from the first three months of 2016 have “overshadowed even the record-breaking year of 2015” according to WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas: “The magnitude of the changes has been a surprise even for veteran climate scientists. The state of the planet is changing before our eyes,” he added. “If the international community acts immediately to halt the rise in CO2 emissions, we can still hope to stabilize global warming over the coming decades. If not, the negative consequences will last for tens of thousands of years,” Taalas declared.

The WMO says the first three months of 2016 have already broken temperature records by the biggest margin ever measured according to preliminary data from the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (right), NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Other climate change indicators include concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere reached 403.28 parts per million in February; in March the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice was the lowest on record for the second straight year; an unusually early and large Greenland ice sheet melt occurred in March, a month earlier than the previous record when over 10 percent of the ice sheet melted: “We had to check that our models were still working properly,” commented the Danish Meteorological Institute

Because of warming temperatures, ice breakup in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska was unusually early and Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is now reported to be 85 percent ‘bleached’ – which if not reversed will lead to the death of the Reef.

Meanwhile drought triggered by El Niño caused widespread food insecurity and power shortages in parts of Africa, while Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay suffered serious flooding during the first three months of 2016.

LONDON: April 21, 2016. As U.K. politicians continue to debate the efficacy of Britain's exit from the European Union (EU), a report from Barclays says a 'Remain' vote would see UK exports to the 28-nation bloc rise from £231.2 billion to £367.6 billion by 2026.

Barclays says while transport will be the fastest-growing goods export sector in the next decade, reflecting solid demand in automotive and aerospace industries, "a decision to leave the EU would cause a significant shake-up of the UK's current trade arrangements – not only with the EU single market, but also with the rest of the world".

BREXITBy 2026 the bank forecasts financial services will be the UK's single largest export sector by value, having overtaken machinery and electrical goods at £80.9 billion to reach £104 billion. The export value of transport goods will rise from £30.3 billion in 2016 to £46.5 billion in the next 10 years, while the value of transport services will rise to £56.9 billion by 2026 –becoming Britain's fourth most valuable export sector.

The U.S. and Germany will remain the UK's two largest trading partners, but their respective shares of UK exports will decline says Barclays. Last year the U.S. accounted for 13 percent of all goods exports and 23 percent of all services exports.

For both goods and services the share of UK exports to the EU has declined gradually over the past decade, as shipments to non-EU markets have grown at a faster rate than the UK's exports to other EU member states. However the bloc still accounted for 47 percent of UK goods exports and 40 percent of services exports last year according to the report.

Commenting on the findings, Matt Tuck, head of Global Transaction Banking at Barclays said: "These latest findings demonstrate the increasing importance of the UK as a global services hub, in addition to the traditional UK stronghold for goods. The transatlantic connection leads the way with the U.S. set to remain our largest individual trade partner over the next ten years with countries in the EU another key export destination for UK companies."

Barclays says Britain's exports to China will rise 115 percent by 2026 – making it the UK's 6th largest market.

LONDON: Amazon has signed an MoU with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to help SMEs increase their exports and grow their e-commerce sales.

UK SMEs currently trail behind the rest of Europe in terms of exports, according to research from UKTI. Of the five million companies in the UK, only one in five currently export – compared with one in four in France and one in three in Germany. Meanwhile, only one in five UK SMEs currently make sales through digital channels according to the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2015.

Interior of Amazon Hemel Hempstead"The global e-commerce market grew by more than 20 percent last year, underscoring the huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes to grow their businesses by increasing their sales online and expanding to new markets," said Catherine Raines, CEO of UKTI.  "By working with industry partners such as Amazon, UKTI is helping to make sure British businesses set the pace both in terms of e-commerce and exports."

Amazon has created a suite of capabilities for UK SMEs including currency exchange, translation, regulatory complexity, tax and duty, marketing and global shipment and distribution. The company said its Amazon Marketplace offers SMEs a shop window with a potential audience of 285 million customers worldwide. I

In the last 12 months, British companies including Character.com, iQualTech and The Light Factory were amongst UK businesses who collectively exported more than £1 billion of products through Amazon Marketplace, with the number of UK businesses using the platform for exporting up by more than 90 percent said the company.

"The digital economy is expanding rapidly around the world and is creating exciting opportunities for British companies to grow by increasing their exports," said Doug Gurr, VP, China Country manager, Amazon. "This new partnership with UK Trade & Investment will help UK businesses to expand their international sales and drive cross-border trade."

David Gutfreund, founder of The Light Factory commented: "Five years ago, we employed a handful of staff in a borrowed warehouse in Salford. Now our own lighting brand Minisun is exporting light fittings and light bulbs to over 25 countries. Export revenue is growing at 40 percent each quarter and at the heart of our export drive is a partnership with Amazon."

 

THE HAGUE: March 08, 2016. Agricultural chemical company Syngenta, which is the subject of a US$43 billion purchase offer from ChemChina, has renewed its 4PL contract with Damco for global sea and airfreight shipments.

Damco syngentaDamco said the new agreement covers the sourcing, execution, monitoring and analyzing of logistics services in a single common platform to provide total visibility and supply chain optimization.

“We are building an industry-leading supply chain solution,” noted Marion Matthewman, head Global Logistics at Syngenta. “Damco [has] demonstrated their ability to become a strong business partner for Syngenta, and this new agreement will be a key enabler to help deliver our business objectives.”

Anthony Elwine, Damco’s global head of the company’s Chemical Vertical added: “We are familiar with the specific requirements and regulations that apply to logistics for the chemical industry, where most of the cargo is classified as ‘dangerous goods’. Combining that specific expertise with our 4PL capability created a perfect match with Syngenta’s requirements,” he declared.

Last month Syngenta announced that ChemChina had offered to acquire 100 percent of its outstanding capital for US$465 per share subject to regulatory approvals.

ChemChina, headquartered in Beijing, is China’s largest chemical corporation with production, R&D and marketing systems in 150 countries. The company specializes in materials science, life science, high-end manufacturing and basic chemicals. The proposed Syngenta acquisition adds to previous sector purchases in France, the UK, Israel, Italy and Germany.

SYDNEY: Supply chain logistics company Brambles has reported a 3.0 percent rise in net profit to US$985.5 million on revenue of US$5.46 billion for its fiscal year ending June, 2015.

Brambles Limited operates primarily through its CHEP and IFCO brands to provide shippers with a pool of 500 million pallets, crates and containers for shared use via 1,000 service centers in 60 countries.

The company has customers in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, as well as in perishables, beverage, retail and general manufacturing industries. Its specialist container logistics business serves the automotive, aerospace and oil and gas sectors.

chep aerospaceCommenting on the annual results, Brambles' CEO Tom Gorman said: "The sales and profit growth we delivered in FY15 reflect the continued ability of our people and operations to keep delivering growth over and above the rate of growth in the industries we serve. Our consistent growth has come despite economic conditions that remain muted and uncertain, intensifying competitor activity and limited pricing opportunities.

"We also benefited in the year from the delivery of direct cost efficiency programs, a disciplined approach to asset deployment, indirect cost reductions, and our ongoing investment in improved control and recovery of our equipment. This enabled us to deliver a higher group operating margin despite cost pressures in the North American pallets business resulting from high equipment repair and transportation costs," he added.

Brambles is forecasting a 6-8 percent growth in sales in its current fiscal year to realize US$1.0-1.2 billion in net (underlying) profit by the end of Fiscal 2016. Company capex is expected to be US$1.5 billion by 2019 to support ongoing supply-chain restocking; the establishment of differentiated reusable plastic crate offerings for major retail customers; the rollout of new pallet platforms to provide better solutions for customers; and further expansion in emerging markets.

"This outlook represents continued delivery of profitable growth despite the tepid nature of global economic recovery and ongoing cost pressures in our North American Pallets business," Gorman noted.

COPENHAGEN: March 02, 2016. Maersk Container Industry (MCI), part of the Maersk Group, says its new reefer control software developed with fruit multinational Dole can save operators over US$2 million a year on a route from Ecuador to the UK, and US$3.2 million on the same sailing to Russia.

Dole Star 1MCI develops and manufactures refrigerated containers, dry containers and the 'Star Cool' refrigeration unit. The company says its StarConomy software can be installed on all new Star Cool reefers while an update can make it available on existing units with more than 40 operators.

The software is designed to reduce operating costs and ultimately meet the industry's sustainability objectives to reduce CO2 emissions.

"Dole has strong focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability. This is reflected in our approach to water management, soil conservation and our carbon footprint, for example. These commitments also extend to our cold chain. When it comes to reefer container transport, we preserve and transport the fruit safely using as little energy as possible, thus reducing our carbon footprint," said Karina Rodriguez, Dole Equipment manager. "To take the next leap in this field, Dole worked with Star Cool in developing and field-testing the innovative StarConomy software that we are now using in all Star Cool reefers in our global operations."

MCI says by carefully balancing compressor and fan speed, StarConomy software can match air circulation to cooling demand to ensure an ideal produce environment.

"The StarConomy software begins by rapidly cooling the produce with the fans at full speed. When the temperature set point is reached, fan speed is reduced and energy optimization can begin," explained Morten Nylykke, MCI general manager, Refrigeration Technology. "StarConomy has proved to meet the needs of Dole, a long term customer, and we are looking forward to offering this new software to our entire Star Cool customer base," he added.

COPENHAGEN: Tradeshift, a global collaboration platform connecting buyers and suppliers, has partnered with EcoVadis, a provider of sustainability ratings for global supply chains.

Launched in 2010, Tradeshift connects 500,000 companies in 190 countries including Archer Daniels Midland, Air France-KLM, CBRE and DHL, to digitize their supply chain relationships and processes via an open platform that also enables third parties to build business apps.

AFB777FThe Danish company says it helps businesses run more efficiently by using cloud technology to improve processes like AP automation, procurement, supplier management and working capital optimization.

"The partnership will integrate EcoVadis' CSR Ratings with Tradeshift's global supply chain platform to benefit both buyers and suppliers. It gives users a platform for supplier business with them," said Pierre-François Thaler, co-CEO at EcoVadis. "Tradeshift shares our philosophy of creating technology that enables better business processes across the planet through a global and sustainable supply chain. Through this partnership, we can together provide a world-class platform to make this happen."

Suppliers will be able to measure, improve and capitalize on their sustainable business practices, while buyers will be able to make better procurement decisions, and see a complete view of the CSR performance and sustainability ratings of their supply chain say the partners.

"Sustainable business practices have always been a core value of our company, so partnering with EcoVadis was an easy decision," said Rinus Strydom, VP Alliances & Solutions Consulting, Tradeshift. "EcoVadis has established the standard for suppliers Sustainability Ratings. By integrating their content into Tradeshift's platform, we can continue our mission of providing a more global, connected and sustainable supply chain network."

Earlier this year Tradeshift won the Circular Economy Digital Disruptor award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. EcoVadis provides ratings for over 120 multinationals including Verizon, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, Heineken, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nokia, L'Oréal, Alcatel-Lucent, ING Bank, Air France-KLM, and Merck.

NEW YORK: February 10, 2016. Results from a GT Nexus survey of 250 U.S.-based senior supply chain executives suggest manufacturers expect major supply chain challenges from factors beyond their control in 2016.

While meeting ever-changing customer demand is deemed a priority, GT Nexus said the data suggests most respondents are focused on cost-cutting while 76 percent operate without a Chief Supply Chain officer.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of those surveyed said keeping up with customer demands is their company’s number one supply chain challenge, while 12 percent said it is dealing with the high level of risk in global markets.

Supply chain impactAsked what would have the most notable supply chain impact in the future, 29 percent of respondents cited currency fluctuations and geopolitical risk, 14 percent said labor strikes, and eight percent cited the Trans Pacific Partnership.

When asked which technology they believed would most heavily impact their supply chain this year, 13 percent said advanced analytics, 11 percent said the Internet of Things and 9.0 percent cited 3D printing.

Over 40 percent of respondents said their most important supply chain goal this year is to reduce costs.

“It’s clear in the report that manufacturers expect to face major supply chain challenges in 2016 stemming from external factors beyond their control,” commented Greg Kefer, GT Nexus vice president Corporate Marketing: “The data suggests their execution roadmap may be misguided, being focused more on cost cutting, for example, than more mission-critical things like having a senior supply chain leader in place.

"With almost half of manufacturers reporting a disruption that impacted business in the past 12 months, this gap in strategic direction to address broader supply chain agility is a concern,” he added.  

LONDON: Shippers can expect to pay significantly more to trade with Greece if it leaves the eurozone according to UK-based courier company ParcelHero.

The warning coincides with Germany proposing a five-year euro "Grexit" while the country remains in the EU; supervision by Brussels of Greek public administration; and a €50 billion privatization of national assets.

Prior to the Greek general election in January this year, the leftist Syriza party said it would halt the privatization plan stipulated in 2010 by the IMF and European Commission as a condition of Greece receiving a €240 billion economic bailout.

keep calmFollowing the election, prime minister Alexis Tsipras's new government immediately announced a moratorium on the sale of a 67 percent stake in the port of Piraeus to China after the Piraeus Port Authority and Piraeus Container Terminal, part of COSCO, had signed a €230 million deal.

Other assets slated for sale by the former conservative government and subsequently blocked by the Syriza party include Greek Railways and the state-run power company PPC; stakes in the Greek postal service and Athens airport; a 40-year lease of 14 regional Greek airports to Fraport; and a 99-year lease of the former Athens airport Hellenikon to a Greek-Chinese-Abu Dhabi consortium.

Commenting on the Greek crisis, ParcelHero founder Roger Sumner-Rivers said that if the country exits both the euro and the European Union it would have to set its own rates of excise duty, levy VAT on imports and establish Customs controls – just like Norway and Switzerland.

He said this would lead to a 15 percent or more increase in costs for shipping to and from Greece: "If the sender chooses to pay the Customs duties and taxes in advance the standard customs clearance charge applied by UPS, DHL, FedEx and TNT for importing goods from a non-EU country is at least £15," he explained.

"The short-term impact this would have is concerning, as businesses and consumers would be forced to adapt rapidly to these new measures. Furthermore, there would be considerable strain on Greece's Customs and Excise service until it was able to sufficiently 'scale up', which could result in a backlog of [import or export] goods awaiting clearance," he added.

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