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DOVER, UK: October 11, 2018. According to Port of Dover head of Policy & Communications Richard Christian, much of the negative Brexit port talk has been about queues of lorries at Dover. Christian argues the real focus should be on the worsening quayside and landside box port congestion at Britain’s big container terminals:

“A lot of the positive talk has been about such box ports being ready for Brexit and other RoRo ferry ports operated by the same owners being ready to take a bit of Dover’s traffic in case Dover is not.

“Yet on all of these counts, while more ultra-large container vessels are diverted from major UK container ports such as Southampton to non-UK hubs, while imports destined for the UK Christmas market end up in Rotterdam delayed for several weeks, and while it becomes clear other UK RoRo ports such as Hull or Immingham say they could only ever take up to 20 percent of Dover’s traffic at an eye-watering cost of around £2.5 billion, the government’s focus is, and has been, on keeping all trade flowing through Dover.

“Why? It is because British consumers ordering or buying their Christmas presents right up to the last minute want to know they will get them in time; because the ferries needed to divert Dover’s traffic do not actually exist; because the crossings are too long and the sailings too infrequent; and because leaving 80 percent of Dover’s traffic in a queue helps no-one?

“That is cheap, or perhaps not so cheap, opportunism at a time when Britain is again turning to its historic frontline, to Dover, for a solution that will actually work for everyone.

“In fact, the government understands that rather than becoming boxed in by distraction, it needs to remain 100 percent focused on the solution for Dover that will keep traffic flowing across the UK, keep shops full, factories busy and prices low for consumers.

“That is why Dover is at the centre of contingency planning to minimise disruption in the event of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit. Dover handles more international lorries than all other UK ports combined. Unless we have another ice age before March 2019, Dover will remain the shortest sea crossing to Europe.

“The Port, together with the government, is keeping the temperature hot on Brexit planning to keep the trade tap flowing through Dover. Elsewhere the deep freeze may have already taken hold as box port congestion and the resultant glacial movement of traffic gets a grip.

Dover may have seemed boxed in by Brexit, but it is punching out to ensure successful future trade with Europe remains about delivering a realistic solution. This means a free-flowing Dover whose speed, efficiency and capacity cannot be replicated anywhere else. The solution is here. That’s why it is game Dover for the rest.”

The Port of Dover handles up to £122 billion, or 17 percent, of the UK’s total trade in goods according to Oxera Consulting. Owned and operated by the Dover Harbour Board, a statutory corporation since it was formed by Royal Charter in 1606 by King James I, the port processes 12 million passengers, 2.6 million lorries and 2.3 million tourist vehicles each year.

SLOUGH, UK: October 09, 2018. Colin Wells is Panalpina’s global head of Industry Vertical Perishables. He’s a former managing director of Toll Perishables and perishables specialist Kensington Freight. Despite the speed of social and economic change prompted by technology, he says has no longing for "the good old days":

"Over time, the physical and virtual worlds are merging, and whilst virtual disrupters tend to have a slower uptake, particularly for pre-millennials, they are huge game changers and the speed in which they appear and change our everyday lives is unprecedented. From telex and mobile phones to a new type of retail in China, I've seen what’s happened and the prospects for the perishables industry are exciting.

"I am at that age that I hear myself talking about the 'good old days' with my friends. Indeed, I have become my father's son. In comments that were driven into me as a child, rebuked really, 40 years on I hear myself telling my nieces and nephews 'you've never had it so good,' In my day…

"I was talking with a colleague the other day about the great disrupters in our lives. Yes, I remember the days when we used a telex machine (apologise for the younger readers who are now searching the internet for what a telex machine is!); painstakingly cutting a tape, then feeding it through a reader so the message could be sent.

"Then along came the computerised telex machine. I say computerised, but it was after all a dumb terminal, but hey no more cutting tapes, simply typing a message and pressing the send button.

"We embraced this. It was more efficient, it was a physical experience, and something we could see, touch and connect to.

"I guess for me the mobile phone was one of the most physical disrupters to change my working day. No more reaching home to find a message from a customer saying that they needed something at the airport, resulting in me traipsing back to the terminal and adding a few more hours to my day.

"Despite the interim pager (please google), the mobile phone, although the size of a small planetary system, not only gave my arms a physical workout, I was receiving calls in real time and therefore on more occasions than not resulted in me actioning the problem whilst still in the vicinity of my business.

"My mother was so pleased… No more hand written messages of such and such called. Simply, her days as my unofficial PA had become redundant!

"Again, the phone was a physical disrupter. We could hold it, we could feel it and it was three-dimensional, yet its disruptive effect was significant. Today, it's not just a phone; it's an enabler for augmented reality.

"Now, after swapping various physical inventions, we then moved into the Cloud. You know the thing that everyone talks about but, in truth, the average Jo really doesn't know what it is, where it is. I looked up to the heavens the first time I heard of it… well it's a cloud after all.

"What was scary is that I couldn't see it, I couldn't feel it, yet I subscribed for all my digital stuff to be moved to this virtual store room (apologies for the over simplification!). A few years on, it is prevalent, however, this virtual disrupter took a lot longer to be embraced, at least for us “not in the know” category simply because it wasn't something we could physically see or hold.

"So where am I going with this?

"Well we have all seen wherever we sit in this magical world, the demise of the traditional retail experience – that Saturday morning where my parents would force my brothers and I to do the weekly shop, my father knowing that yes it was going to be one of those journeys filled with him reminding his brood to behave, and for good behavior we could visit Woolworths and indulge in the revolutionary 'Pick and Mix', all of us given 10 pence to grab our moment of childhood heaven.

"Now for most of us the 'virtual store' of ecommerce touches our lives, for some more than others. No need to travel, but relax, grab your drink of choice (apparently I am a tea alcoholic, which I refute, yet my wife shows me at the end of each day the discarded tea bags, so in this case the physical evidence, leaves me nowhere to hide!), search for the items of choice on the internet and simply press a button. If ordered before a certain time, by magic those purchases are winging their way to me within a few hours, how fantastic is that?

"In my world, my wife doesn't have to drag me round a supermarket, and hear every time when we reach the fruit and veg section, how many tonnes come from here, or we handled that etc. etc. Yep, again I have reached that age where I need to ramble on about trivia in many people's eyes, about an apple, how its grown, where it's from, who produces the largest volume and so on… Actually, often I even feel myself drifting off to sleep (get a hobby!).

"The reality is that we are going to see more and more virtual stores popping up. We can't physically see them, we can't physically visit them, and more importantly we can't physically touch the merchandise. The result is a slower uptake, it clearly is and will be a disrupter and overtime it will become the norm, especially in the world of perishables.

"I myself embrace it, although we have a family divide – my partner prefers to see, touch and feel, as an example that apple. But does she, like most of us know exactly if the physical experience makes that apple better than the virtual?

"Growers, retailers, and logistic providers are making progress, and for sure if they are going to win the battle over the physical vs. virtual then it's a given that the virtual online apple has to be delivered in a premium condition. And I will stick my neck out in most cases is in better condition than the regular consumer picking one up from the local store. Why? Because they want us to return, it's a repeat, return model, and first experiences count.

"But hey, look at what Alibaba is doing with retail in China. They might be onto something here:

"Over time, the physical and virtual worlds will merge, and whilst virtual disrupters tend to have a slower uptake, particularly for the pre-millennials, they are huge game changers, and the speed in which they appear and change our everyday lives is unprecedented.

"For some us, as we go through our finer years, never has there been such a speed of change, our lives in the virtual world are more dynamic. Me, I embrace it, yes I still moan sometimes that the old times were better, but technology has carved out the person I am today, and continues to do so, maybe just a bit slower than the average teenager!"

CHICAGO: September 27, 2018. Speaking at the annual American Bar Association and Space Law Forum this week, FedEx founder, chairman and CEO Fred Smith reiterated his view that open skies and free trade drive global prosperity:

“As you know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act. This policy has helped create a vibrant arena of global trade and cultural exchange.

“Open Skies provides opportunities for customers across the world in the same way domestic deregulation provided opportunities for US customers. Today the US has open skies agreements with more than 120 partners.

“These agreements create tremendous benefits for America. They create U.S. jobs particularly in aerospace, travel, and tourism. The US Department of Commerce has estimated that every $1 billion In aircraft orders supports about 6,000 American jobs

“It’s predicted that over the next 10 years, open skies cargo services will create almost 350,000 new jobs and add US$900 billion to our economy.

“By the way, FedEx, UPS, and Atlas directly employ over one million people and the economic activity generated by their market connectivity creates more related jobs as well.

“Exporters benefit from Open Skies connectivity. US cargo carriers use Open Skies rights to connect exporters to new markets.

“Made-in-America manufacturing benefits too. Open Skies agreements have prompted overseas carriers to buy American products. The three Gulf carriers, for instance, have over 300 Boeing aircraft in use or on order. Without Open Skies, those airplane orders could easily have gone to Airbus, shipping thousands of US manufacturing jobs to Europe.

“Travellers enjoy lower fares on routes affected by Open Skies agreements. Economists have noted that airfares have fallen 32 percent on such routes as compared to regulated markets. It’s been estimated that Open Skies agreements have generated at least US$4 billion in traveller cost savings.

“Beyond America, liberalized aviation has opened the world. The US State Department reports that since liberalization, countries with agreements have experienced traffic growth of between 12 and 35 percent. In some situations, growth exceeded 50 percent.

“Here’s another tidbit from the State Department: A simulation of the likely results of liberalizing 320 country pair markets not in open skies mode was conducted. The simulation found that those 320 agreements would create 24.1 million full-time jobs and generate an additional US$490 billion in GDP. That’s an economy almost the size of Brazil.

“Upholding existing agreements and seeking out new opportunities is exactly how the US will be able to realize the economic benefits of Open Skies and continue leading the world in aviation.

“I’m confident we also agree that retreating from Open Skies would have the opposite effect: it would stymie American leadership and economic growth, while also sending the wrong signal to our trading partners.

“Turning our back on Open Skies would empower other countries such as China to retreat from opening their markets, and ultimately lead to the unraveling of the Open Skies regime around the globe.

“Of course, the importance of Open Skies is much greater than the economic growth of a single country, be that the United States or China or Germany. The principles of Open Skies permeate all facets of the world economy, particularly global trade.

“History demonstrates that people have always wanted to travel and trade. Their doing so propelled global growth and lifted millions out of poverty.

“Despite the current tension, trade will continue because people will demand it. As incomes rise people will want access to more goods and services and greater economic opportunity.

“People talk a lot today about unfair trade relationships and the need for reciprocity. Fairness and reciprocity are important goals. And there are some practices and barriers that are unjustified and need to be stopped. Countries should adhere to the WTO commitments they made.

“But trade liberalization has always been a series of compromises. Every country has sensitive, protected industries, including the US If you want examples just look at our protections on sugar, cotton, apparel, and trucks.

“We should not judge the entire value or fairness of our trade relationships by focusing only on the relatively small number of protected sectors.

“We should instead focus on the thousands of tariffs and non-tariff barriers that can be reduced or eliminated, and the enormous economic value that 
could result. That value will far outweigh the few sectors that continue to 
receive political protection.

“That’s not to say we shouldn’t push to reduce some of those difficult 
barriers, but let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“The great news is that global trade imbalances are declining. The US trade 
deficit as a percentage of GDP is 2.4 percent, down from its recent peak of 5.8 percent in 2006.

“China’s trade surplus is 1.4 percent, down from 9.0 percent in 2007. This will continue as China and other developing economies become more consumer and service oriented

“The innovations and improvements in the transportation and communications sectors have dramatically changed the nature of trade. Today, anyone can order something from their phone and receive it within a few days or even the same day.

“Consumers and exporters, especially small businesses, are reaping the benefits of global e-commerce. An article in Business Insider says that 81 percent of small businesses believe that online sales are critical to their companies’ success.

"And worldwide e-commerce is projected to grow from US$2.8 trillion this year to US$4.9 trillion in 2021, only three short years away.

In the U.S., e-commerce will comprise 17 percent of all retail by 2022, up from about 10 percent in 2017.

“In summary, there’s no question that open skies and free trade drive prosperity in our industry, our country, and our world. FedEx has a long history of supporting these policies, and they in turn have helped us grow significantly over the years. I hope the organizations represented here today will stand with FedEx as being ‘all in’ for practices that create a more accessible world for everyone.”

Other sponsors of the two-day conference included UPS and Delta Air Lines.

ADDIS ABABA: September 13, 2018. The Universal Postal Union failed to raise the ultra-cheap rates China pays for postage to the West at its Extraordinary Congress last week. With Donald Trump threatening unilateral action David Jinks, head of Consumer Research at delivery specialist ParcelHero, wonders whether this is the end of secretive UPU rates or just more Trump chaos:

“The only chance of immediate reform is if Donald Trump carries out his threat to abandon the entire agreement – but that could lead to a free-for-all on international postal dues, and do more harm than good.

“British and American online retailers have long-complained that Chinese e-commerce letter-size packages to the West are massively subsidised by our postal services, thanks to secret rates arranged by the UPU. Now Trump is considering unilateral action because the UPU failed to agree reforms. Whether his letter bombshell will ultimately be good or bad news for UK and US traders remains to be seen.

“Before the UPU’s meeting on the contentious issue in Addis Ababa last week, Trump demanded that it must agree future rates that would ‘fully reimburse the USPS (United States Postal Service) for costs to the same extent as domestic rates for comparable services’. Instead the UPU decided to kick the decision into the long grass and says it will look at this again at its next meeting in 2020.

“The UPU says it ‘achieved a major success by approving a compromise proposal’. The decision to push the question of international postal remuneration into the next decade certainly doesn’t look like a ‘success’ to us; unless the ostriches’ defence of sticking its head in the sand can be considered successful.

“Recently we revealed it costs vastly less to send a bracelet from Beijing to Birmingham by Post than it does to send the same item from Bromsgrove to Birmingham; and that Chinese traders may be paying less than 1/2p to send a packet of earrings to the UK. Small wonder British traders are crying foul. Now it looks like the US is about to set a ball rolling that could end this huge postage price imbalance – but at what cost to international agreements?’

“Trump threatened that unless the UPU agreed to fully reimburse the USPS’ costs, then the US will consider taking ‘any appropriate actions’ to ensure these rates. He’s given his Secretary of State until November 01 to come up with recommendations for future action, including the possibility of ‘adopting self‑declared rates’.

“Not for the first time, Trump is opening up a can of worms over overseas trade. If the US declares its own postal dues, China may also impose its own rates and we could end up with a tit-for-tat situation in which every country, including the UK, sets its own dues; overthrowing an arrangement that has been in place for many decades.

“If the UK joins in any move towards fair postal remuneration, the result could be a huge boost for UK sellers as cheap Chinese imports vanish. But it could equally work against British retailers importing stock from overseas, or exporting to countries who may be imposing new postal dues. With Brexit just around the corner, perhaps this is a fight we hope Trump won’t pick for now.”

AMSTERDAM: August 01, 2018. Airfreight analyst WorldACD says its June air cargo data is the first month in two years “without serious growth”. And with Trump threatening a global trade meltdown there are no clear signs as to what will happen for the rest of 2018:

“The worldwide air cargo yield stood at a level of US$1.90 in June, almost equal to our (updated) figure for May 2018 but still 13 percent higher than in June 2017. Measured in € the yield increased by 2.0 percent month-over-month (MoM), whilst the year-over-year (YoY) increase was 9.0 percent.

“It had to happen one day, or rather one month: No year-over-year (YoY) growth to speak of. June 2018 was that month: For the first time in two years, air cargo's worldwide volume growth stagnated as the YoY increase for the month was a mere 0.4 percent. Admittedly, the first half of 2018 brought an overall YoY growth of 3.7 percent, but this year-to-date growth percentage has slowly but surely decreased for a number of months now.

“Judging by the very diverse stories appearing in the trade press over the past weeks, our industry is clearly divided when it comes to the prospects for the second half of 2018. On the one hand, we read optimistic prognoses from some of the big forwarders, based mainly on what they see as a continuing capacity squeeze. On the other hand, people get worried about the (future) negative effects of the trade policies - real or only tweeted - of the unpredictable man in the White House.

"Results for the early summer month of June may not be the best leading indicator for the rest of the year. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that business from Asia Pacific to the other regions did not improve vis-a-vis June 2017 [at] -0.1 percent YoY.

“Air cargo from the origins Africa, Europe and the Middle East also contracted YoY (MESA by almost 4.0 percent). The Americas, however, again bucked the worldwide trend: the USA enjoys high economic growth, while South America has been in 'catching up' mode for a number of months already. The worldwide yield continued to be much higher than a year ago.

“What to make of these developments in the light of the uncertain times we live in? Should they be seen as a harbinger of times to come? Let us take a look at the June-figures for the markets most 'threatened' by the trade measures announced by Donald Trump.

“Exports by air from China to the USA dipped considerably in June. Although this market had been sub-par for the full first half year of 2018 already (-2.9 percent YoY), the June figure of -5.9 percent YoY could be indicative of a worsening climate between the two economic powerhouses.

"By the way, China to Europe was also negative in June (-2.9 percent YoY), but US to Europe showed growth of 3.7 percent YoY, well above the worldwide average, albeit much lower than in the earlier months of 2018 when it topped 8.0 percent.

"With a YoY growth of 3.0 percent, USA exports by air to China grew more than the overall air cargo ex-USA...

"Who is to tell what results will be reported for July onwards, when the first tariff increases may start to bite? To us, the world of air cargo looks fairly uncertain at the moment. For once, to predict the future it may be just as helpful to read the tea leaves (as well as tweets?) or to gaze into a crystal ball."

June 2018 WorldACD Air Cargo Market Data

AMSTERDAM: It is now a decade since the air cargo industry had its last high point before the financial crisis hit the following year. Analyst World ACD says worldwide volume growth in the past 10 years has totaled 31 percent - despite year-on-year volume falls as high as 40 percent in 2009 - for an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.7 percent.

The big inter-regional markets produced the following AAGR results:

  • Asia Pacific to Europe: +20 percent (1.8 percent)
    Europe to Asia Pacific: +80 percent (6.0 percent)
  • North America to Europe: +9.0 (0.9 percent)
    Europe to North America: +46 percent (3.8 percent)
  • Asia Pacific to North America: +39 percent (3.4 percent)
    North America to Asia Pacific: +46 percent (3.8 percent)
  • Europe to Middle East & South Asia: +60 percent (4.8 percent)
    Middle East & South Asia to Europe: +36 percent (3.2 percent)

Percentage growth of top origin country in each of six regions by AAGR:

  • Vietnam: +275 percent (14.1 percent)
  • Ethiopia: +151 percent (9.6 percent)
  • Sri Lanka: +133 percent (8.8 percent)
  • Norway: +118 percent (8.1 percent)
  • Mexico: +82 percent (6.2 percent)
  • Ecuador: +65 percent (5.2 percent)

AAGR percentage growth of top destination country in each of six regions:

  • Vietnam: +194 percent (11.4 percent)
  • Qatar: +163 percent (10.2 percent)
  • Mexico: +87 percent (6.5 percent)
  • Russia: +71 percent (5.5 percent)
  • Kenya: +57 percent (4.6 percent)
  • Brazil: +37 percent (3.2 percent)

“July became the second month in row that saw minimal worldwide growth as volumes grew just 0.5 percent year-on-year and 0.8 percent in Direct Tonne-Kilometres.

“The yield dropped slightly to US$1.88, 0.6 percent lower than in June, but still 12.2 percent higher than in July 2017. Measured in €, the yield fell 2.2 percent month-over-month while it increased 10.5 percent year-on-year.

“When DTK's grow more than volume, that means that cargo has shifted to longer haul markets. Thus, given the tiny difference of 0.3 percent, the average distance between origin and final destination of July shipments hardly. Actually, the DTK trend since January 2018 shows that the average distance between origin and destination still grows, but much less so than in previous years.

“And although very difficult to quantify, the technical problems the Japanese carrier NCA has faced over the summer have most likely negatively influenced growth figures for June and July.

“Volumes from origin points in Africa and Europe contracted 8.3 percent and 1.3 percent respectively in July as Latin America kept growing (+9.5 percent), while MESA and Europe destinations were the only ones showing more than 1.0 percent growth.

“So far this year, Latin America is the fastest growing origin region (+11.6 percent) and Europe the fastest growing destination (+5.6 percent). Volume growth for the first seven months was 3.3 percent, while DTK growth declined to 4.1 percent year-on-year.

“In the same period the weight of the average shipment increased by 1.9 percent. Looking at the so-called 'weight breaks' (0-50 kg, 50-300 kg, 300-500 kg), the number of shipments above 1000 kg grew much faster (+4.8 percent) than the number of shipments in the smaller weight breaks with growth varying between -0.9 percent and +2.0 percent.

“Could this stronger growth, particularly from Asia Pacific, be caused by an increase in consolidated e-commerce shipments? After all, it is not only Integrators who move e-business across the globe.

“The percentage of year-on-year yield growth in US$ depended on the weight breaks: the smaller the weight, the smaller the yield growth. Shipments over 1000 kgs saw larger yield increases (+17 percent) than smaller shipments (growth increasing from 9.0 for 0-50 kg to 14 percent for 500-1000kg).

“However the increase in fuel prices may well play a role here as the increase in absolute fuel cost, when factored in as a percentage of total yield change, weighs more heavily on the lower yielding, larger shipments.”


LONDON: July 12, 2018. Malcolm Dowden, the UK legal director of international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, says the “trusted trader concept” that underpins the British government’s latest EU White Paper has to be accepted by all 27 members. Without it, there’s no “frictionless trade” for Britain after March 2019:

"The government's white paper proposes the creation of a 'free trade area for goods', coupled with a ‘facilitated Customs arrangement’ to allow cross-border trade to be as 'frictionless' as possible. Central to those proposals is the concept of ‘trusted traders’.

"For example, it suggests that: ‘where a good reaches the UK border, and the destination can be robustly demonstrated by a trusted trader, it will pay the UK tariff if it is destined for the UK and the EU tariff if it is destined for the EU.’

"The ‘trusted trader’ concept has its roots in the World Customs Organisation (WCO). In Europe, ‘trusted traders’ are referred to as Authorised Economic Operators (AEO). To qualify, businesses must be able to demonstrate that they have both the policies and physical arrangements required to guarantee that goods have been transported securely and are properly accounted for.

“To qualify for the linked status of Authorised Economic Operators (Customs) or ‘AEOC’, businesses must currently be able to show at least three years' experience of meeting Customs obligations. That test cannot be met by the estimated 131,000 businesses that, according to HMRC estimates, will be brought into Customs procedures for the first time. It is possible to buy-in expertise or to use intermediaries such as freight forwarders or distribution companies.

“However, the UK currently has only 630 businesses with AEO status (compared with 6,226 in Germany and 1,563 in the Netherlands). Consequently, third-party AEO status and expertise is likely to be in short supply, potentially increasing the cost of accessing those services.

"Attaining AEO status is not straightforward. The applications forms are relatively short, but they require a significant body of detailed evidence. Applying for (and then maintaining) AEO status therefore represents a significant investment of cash and management time.

“Further, the approval process leads to an assessment carried out by HMRC, which can be a significant bottleneck as HMRC resources are very limited. The AEO application process theoretically takes up to 120 days. However, experience in practice suggests that the process often takes much longer – in some cases extending from 18 months to two years. AEO status cannot be regarded as an easy route, or as a quick fix.

"The usefulness of any AEO scheme depends on mutual recognition. Any end-to-end process for the import or export of goods works only if it works at both ends. The government's white paper cannot guarantee that AEO status granted in the UK would be recognised by the EU27.

“Consequently, it merely expresses the hope that the UK will be able to ‘agree mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs)’. Without mutual recognition, AEO status would be of little value – and mutual recognition can only be achieved through a full political agreement with the EU.

“In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, or of a deal that did not include mutual recognition, the ‘trusted trader’ concept that underpins the white paper suggestions would not provide ‘frictionless" trade.’”

Womble Bond Dickinson was established in 2017 when UK-based Bond Dickinson LLP and US-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP combined to create a new transatlantic business with 26 offices in the UK and US.

ZURICH: August 30, 2018. “Social dumping” – the hiring of workers from eastern Europe to work for less in higher-wage countries – is widespread in the European Union according to a report this week from RepRisk, a research and business intelligence provider specializing in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk.

The study follows the finalization by the UN in July on the text for a new migration pact that includes protection for an estimated 150 million migrant workers worldwide.

Covering the past two years, RepRisk highlights complaints by migrant drivers working in the EU road transport industry of excessive working hours and having to sleep after being denied legally-mandated rest periods. From the report:

“In October 2016, Romanian truck drivers working for the Dutch company Royal Rotra Transport claimed they were paid a monthly wage of less than €300. Another Dutch company, Martin Wismans, was also accused of using a Slovakian subsidiary to lure workers from Hungary, the Philippines, and Romania to the Netherlands, and paying them extremely low wages. Similar allegations were made against Jan de Rijk, who reportedly exploited hundreds of Bulgarian drivers in the Dutch city of Roosendaal.

“In February 2017, a District Court in the Netherlands ordered Brinkman Trans Holland, a transport subcontractor of IKEA, to pay its Polish and Moldovan truck drivers wages in accordance with Dutch laws.

“Samskip Van Dieren, that also provides transportation services for IKEA, was simultaneously accused of exploiting its Eastern European workers and providing them with false payslips.

“Similar allegations surfaced in Belgium, when the Belgian Transport Association found at least 25 transport companies registered at the same address in Slovakia. In March 2017, Belgian Federal Police raided the offices of Maes Transport, Rosantra Transport, and Vervoer Van Dievel, following accusations that they had evaded approximately €7.0 million in social security contributions since 2014 by employing Eastern European truck drivers through subsidiary companies registered in Portugal and Slovakia.

“In May 2017, DRV Intertrans, Fonteyne en Cie, and Transport De Soete were fined more than €100,000 each in Belgium for using shell companies in Eastern Europe to avoid paying social security contributions for their drivers from Bulgaria and Romania.

“In May this year, several Norwegian companies, including Cargo Transport, Platina Seafood, and Universal Logistics Bergen, were criticized for failing to ensure that Latvian drivers employed by their transportation service provider, SIA Kreiss, were paid properly in Norway.”

RepRisk reports combine AI, human analysis and data from its ESG due-diligence database to conduct research on listed and non-listed companies to help businesses reduce risks that can have a reputational, compliance and financial impact.

In a related announcement, The UK Institute of Risk Management (IRM) and Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management is to conduct an executive course on enterprise risk management in Brussels from November 19-23 this year.

Completion of the course allows the participant to qualify as a Certified Member of the IRM, gaining the CMIRM designation, and to use the title ‘Certified Risk Professional’.

More information: Solvay Business School

RepRisk report: RepRisk

AMSTERDAM: July 02, 2018. Air cargo market analyst WorldACD wonders whether ‘the party is over’ as worldwide air cargo yield dropped three percent in May year-on-year (YoY) to US$1.88. However, it notes, the yield is still 14 percent higher than in May 2017 and measured in €, it increased one percent month-over-month, and seven percent YoY:

“Lots of people have taken up the pen lately, writing about the end of the boom, the end of the party. Are they all doomsday prophets, naysayers and other assorted pessimists? Maybe, but sometimes people turn out to be plain right in their predictions, making them realists.

“Put differently, do we experience just a small dip in growth, or do we witness an 'inevitable' slide into a more modest performance of a world economy which looked so robust only a few months ago?

“The development in air cargo in the month of May 2018 confirms a downward growth trend noticed since the start of this year. But growth it is nonetheless, although less than in 2017. Year-over-year, air cargo volume increased by 2.6 percent worldwide, yield measured in € by 7.1 percent and measured in US$ by 14.4 percent. For January through May, the growth was 4.3 percent.

“Originating traffic from Chile (+58 percent), Japan (+18 percent), Canada (+17 percent), and the USA (+5.8 percent) easily outperformed many other countries. But the growth from the Americas came at a price: YoY US$ yield improvements in the Americas were well below 10 percent, much lower than elsewhere in the world.

“Traffic from India, Russia and Western Europe all showed negative YoY growth in May. As in previous months, long- haul traffic increased more than short-haul: 3.0 percent growth in Direct Ton Kilometers (DTK) versus 2.6 percent in weight, while specific cargo categories again outpaced general cargo (5.5 percent versus 1.5 percent growth).

“Yet, the fear of growing protectionism is real, and that fear may well play a role in a shift away from consumption. Will the whole world suffer? To what extent will some regions feel the heat of the trade war (mongering) more than others? Impossible to tell, so let us stick to what we know and see how a number of large economies performed lately.

“For a number of countries, we looked at GDP-developments, as reported by The Economist in its latest issue, relative to air cargo growth. Until 2009, the conventional wisdom was that air cargo roughly grew at twice the rate of GDP growth. Since the crisis this ratio first dropped from 2:1 to 1:1 and then climbed again gradually.

“Where does it stand today?

“It is no longer possible to use a general ratio between GDP-growth and air cargo growth.

“Neither is it possible to assume that growth in any geographical area will automatically benefit the carriers based in that area. Actually, the contrary appeared to be the case when reviewing growth over the past two years!

“The African carrier group was the only one improving its (small) market share in all regions. So did carriers from Asia Pacific, except in their home area.

“Carriers from the Americas increased their market share in three regions, but lost share in both North and South America. The group of Middle Eastern carriers lost share in three regions, including their home area, and gained in Europe and Latin America.

"Lastly, European carriers gained share everywhere, except in their home market Europe.

“In other words the growth in traffic from all areas except Africa benefitted the group of 'non-home carriers' more than the group of 'home carriers'.”

WorldACD Market Data


LONDON: August 23, 2018. The British government published ‘Technical Notices’ this week advising what to do in the event of a no-deal Brexit. According to express service retailer Parcel Hero and its head of Consumer Research David Jinks, the suggestions are as helpful as the government's 1970s ‘Protect and Survive’ booklet on how to withstand a nuclear attack by sheltering under a table:

“If the government thought its first batch of 25 documents advising businesses and individuals how to plan for the event of us leaving the EU without a deal would reassure people, they are mistaken.

“The advice that people and businesses shipping items to the EU should ‘engage the services of a Customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help, or alternatively secure the appropriate software and authorisations’, is reminiscent of the booklet’s advice to ‘use tables if they are large enough to provide you all with shelter’.

“The European Commission recently warned increased border controls will mean transport between the UK and EU will be ‘severely impacted’, with the possibility of ‘significant delays’. The Technical Notice assertion that the government will have stockpiled six weeks of medical supplies to cope with border disruption simply creates more worries than it calms. If that’s the level of delays anticipated for urgent medicines, what will the situation be like for normal goods? If individuals and SMEs are simply planning to send a parcel to the EU, or expecting a parcel collection from the Continent, we can get a picture of the real delays anticipated.

“The Brexit secretary (‘Vote Leave’ proponent Dominic Raab) introduced the new Technical Notices by saying: ‘There are risks here, but let’s not have the risks blown out of proportion.’

“Quite frankly the Technical Paper on Trade’s advice that businesses should ‘if necessary, put steps in place to renegotiate commercial terms to reflect any changes in Customs and excise procedures, and any tariffs that may apply to UK-EU trade’, [echoes] the introduction to the Protect and Survive booklet: ‘The dangers which you and your family will face in this situation can be reduced if you do as this booklet describes.’

“Just like with the threat of a nuclear attack, we very much hope that a no-deal Brexit is a worst-case scenario never actually happens. Anyone planning to use a parcel courier to ship to the EU in the future must trust that the threat of a hard Brexit never actually comes true – because British exporters know ducking under a table won’t help them survive the extra duties, red tape and delays on their exports to the EU.”

LONDON: June 26, 2018. What constitutes a threat to national security? Russian cyber attacks? ISIS? Central American immigrants on the Texas border? Canada? Boris Johnson?

Donald Trump has popularized the phrase to justify his behaviour. The good news, if that’s possible, is the term has now been broadened to encompass more than the threat to human life by foreign extremists.

Now, thanks to Trump, just about anything can be described as a ‘national security’ threat – so why not domestic economic policies that threaten the lives of many millions?

A conglomerate of American, Japanese, Indian and Canadian business groups have called on the UK government for “legal certainty” to avoid a ‘No Deal’ Brexit - suggesting wealth-generating companies in North America and Asia have become more than worried.

BMW UK says no access to the EU Customs Union after March 2019 will lead to its own Brexit and the loss of 8,000 jobs; Airbus has suggested a similar outcome – as has Siemens.

Now the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, representing investments of over €2 trillion last year and supporting more than 4.7 million jobs, has become the latest business group to warn Britain about its xenophobic self-destruction.

But the Conservative government only wants to read its own press releases. Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Dave Davis, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, plus their propaganda puppeteer William Rees-Mogg, appear impervious, if not imperious, to the uncertainty that has caused Britain’s economy to lose £440 million a week.

So when does political behaviour become a national security issue?

Trump has demonstrated scant interest in the rule of law with his version of chaos theory. On the other side of the Atlantic the cabal in control of the Conservative government demands similar obeisance – despite dire warnings from just about every economist, think tank and moderate political leader worldwide.

Now the British Parliament has voted to spend £14 billion on a third runway at Heathrow as the country's GDP contracts. How long will it be before rising costs and the declining economy make the added capacity irrelevant?

The suggestion by UK-based manufacturers that their supply chains are threatened by a lack of common sense suggests a new form of public action is required - inspired not by the Labour Party but the logistics industry.

With up to 14 days before Britain’s food, hospital supplies and gasoline begin to run out if there is no agreement on continued access to the Customs Union, the government’s response to make the M20 motorway in the South East of England a parking lot for trucks isn’t going to resolve the issue of just-in-time delivery.

For those old enough to remember bankrupt Britain’s three-day working week in the 1970s, the only way Margaret Thatcher’s government could reduce the subsequent public debt was to privatise state assets.

With just nine months to go before another economic and social blackout, this time the country has little left to sell to foreign investors.

Maybe it’s time the Tory government listened to them.

Simon Keeble is editorial director of HU Digital Media, owner of http://www.freightweek.org


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