Block-chain benefits in foreign trade

Block-chain benefits in foreign trade

Block-chain technology provides key functional functions that adapt to the supply chain environment and business needs in international trade and transportation.

  • Transparency
  • Auditable by third parties
  • Immutable data
  • Scalable
  • Safety
  • High degree of automation

But what do these technical characteristics mean in terms of applications and improvements to current processes?

In terms of applications, Block-chain in international trade and transportation could solve.

5 key business of the Block-chain

1. Transparent and secure paperless trading with Block-chain:

Including bills of lading, certificates and letters of credit.

Provides access to the document path and any changes to these documents, whether they are purchase orders, reservations, or invoices.

It ensures the authenticity and integrity of the documents, as well as the transfer of title. An immediate value is avoiding fraud in double billing factoring, for example.

2. Easy procurement and contracting:

The contract can be registered and converted into a “smart contract” * to allow control and automation of its execution.

Block-chain guarantees the irrevocability of these contracts.

These smart contracts can include self-executing features, including payment obligations at the granular level.

Reservation cancellation fees, as well as detention and stay expenses can be invoiced and paid in a clear and consensual way with the potential use of cryptocurrencies.

Block-chain can manage and process warranty claims quickly and automatically.

3. Real-time traceability of goods:

As well as certification of data such as certificate of origin or proof of delivery. Record digital and verifiable events.

The ability to verify the origin of products and their execution in transportation is valuable.

Especially for sensitive cargo such as medicine, food and some consumer goods.

Banks, insurance companies, customs and cross-border agencies can get immediate value in these applications.

4. Real-time traceability:

Of transactions and their correspondence with physical flows.

It can be of great help in automating business finance and asset-based inventory financing.

5. Distribution of information to a network of partners through direct processing:

This without the need for data alteration. It enables collaboration platforms and data pipelines.

Saves time and improves data quality, avoiding multiple data transfers or entries, and reduces the risk of disclosure.

Some applications can be seen in cargo release at terminals, for example.

There are multiple initiatives carried out by large companies or startups in these key fields.

However, Block-chain technology is still not enough in certain areas.

These are the challenges that will be addressed in the coming years in order to have a full implementation beyond simple proof of concept.

The main obstacles are:

  • Lack of strong governance, legal framework, and compliance
  • Lack of data controls
  • Need for standardization
  • Management of related costs and business models
Negotiation mistakes you may be making unconscious

Negotiation mistakes you may be making unconscious

Not everything in international trade is importing and exporting or getting through customs, a fundamental pillar is negotiation.

Negotiations prior to reaching a mutual agreement that can be finalized in an international sales contract implies concessions by both parties.

As well as an approximation of all the positions that the different companies have previously taken.

Knowing our weaknesses can make us stronger so let’s do a quick review of the most common mistakes of companies in the field of international negotiations.

Extremist negotiation

One of the most common mistakes of culture in international negotiations is to conceive of the negotiation itself in terms of “Win or Lose.”

Any process must provide added value that allows both parties to gain mutual gain.

Not being clear about this concept today is starting the house with the roof and the basis for some of the other errors on this list can be found here.

Fronts to convince

An extremist negotiation often generates two fronts that try to convince of their reasoning.

Which in a large percentage of cases causes feedback, hence the need for negotiations to become games to attract the client.

Try to find what the other negotiator wants and offer it in cooperation according to our possibilities.

Fuzzy objectives in the negotiation

To attract, we need to be very clear with our first and second level objectives and the limit of our concessions.

Only in this way will the two parties reach a common area of understanding. When both reach their maximum benefit, they will cordially decide if they are interested in the agreement.

Bad tactics

Tactics that build on past mistakes, but may work locally, rarely work in international trade between vastly different countries to build long-term relationships.

Examples are strategic submission concessions, bargaining as an intermediate solution, the random threat to dissolve the negotiation or the withdrawal tactic.

You have to know very well the tactics that are accepted by that country or company as valid before risking to use them.

Illegitimacy of the agreement

Breaking any sense of fairness, equality or legality in the agreement or proposing it as part of the agreement or import-export process can drastically end the negotiation in many areas.

In countries like Canada it is not allowed to even joke about the matter in many businesses.

Untidy shapes

It is essential in the negotiations to know the culture of the country with which you are going to negotiate as part of persuasion and seduction.

The protocol in formal or informal meetings is a fundamental part of the negotiation and for this the cultural context will give us information on the individualism or collectivism that is expected of us.

A big mistake would be to fall into cognitive dissonances between what is said and our non-verbal communication, generating insecurity and confusion.

Use of time in negotiation

Time must be managed correctly without urgency, but without delay when evaluating options.

Taking into account the Attention Curve, short meetings with breaks are preferable, but with enough time to consider alternatives to the first meeting.

China’s exports grew at a strong pace in March

China’s exports grew at a strong pace in March

China’s exports grew at a robust pace in March in yet another boost to the nation’s economic recovery as global demand picks up.

This amid progress in worldwide COVID-19 vaccination, while import growth surged to the highest in four years.

The data reinforces signs of gathering momentum for the world’s second largest economy as it emerges from the COVID-19-led slump in early 2020.

China’s exports in dollar terms soared 30.6 percent in March from a year earlier.

But at a slower pace from a record 154.9 percent growth in February.

The analysts have forecast a 35.5 percent jump in shipments.

Imports increased 38.1 percent year-on-year last month, the highest since February 2017, beating a 23.3 percent forecast and compared with 17.3 percent growth in February.

China posted a trade surplus of US$13.8 billion last month, versus analysts’ expectations for the surplus to rise to US$52.05 billion from US$37.88 billion in February.

Despite sporadic COVID-19 cases in China’s border cities, authorities have been able to largely contain the virus in a boost to factory activity.

As production has gradually picked up to pre-pandemic levels.

Beijing managed to largely bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control much earlier than many countries.

Thanks to stringent anti-virus curbs and lockdowns at the initial phase of the outbreak last year.

That has helped its economy mount a rapid turnaround after a slump at the start of 2020, led by resurgent China’s exports growth as factories raced to fill overseas orders.

Global demand for Chinese goods have remained strong as the world economic recovery has continued to gather pace helped in part by stepped up vaccination efforts.

China’s gross domestic product expanded 2.3 percent last year, the only major economy to post growth in 2020, underpinned by solid demand for goods such as medical equipment.

Source: CNA

The Suez Canal blockage cause a big disarray in trade

The Suez Canal blockage cause a big disarray in trade

The Suez Canal expects 140 ships to pass on Mar 30 after the freeing of a container ship stranded for nearly a week allowed it to reopen.

But experts warned that disruptions to global shipping and at ports could take months to resolve.

The blockage threw global supply chains into disarray, threatening costly delays for firms already wrestling with COVID-19 restrictions.

And nearly doubled rates for oil product tankers.

Shipping convoys through the canal resumed on Monday evening.

After tugs pulled the 400-metre-long Ever Given container carrier free from the spot where it became wedged amid high winds on Mar 23.

“We want to reaffirm in a clear message to the world that everything is back to the way it was,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told reporters on Tuesday from a platform on the canal, as container ships passed behind him.

The Ever Given’s grounding across a southern section of the canal forced a halt to all traffic.

Leading to a build-up of 422 ships at either end of the canal and along its course.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie said 95 ships would pass by 1900 local time on Tuesday and a further 45 by midnight, reasserting that he hoped the build-up would be cleared in three to four days.

“We’ll work day and night and God willing we’ll get it done in the shortest time possible,” Rabie said.

Knock-on effects to global shipping and at ports could take much longer to disentangle.

Though the build-up around the Suez Canal might be cleared in four to five days, it could take several months to deal with backlogs at ports. Jan Hoffmann, an UNCTAD expert on logistics, told a briefing.

Shipping group Maersk has also said disruptions to international shipping could last for months.

Source: Channel News Asia

Suez Canal blocked since Tuesday by a stuck ship

Suez Canal blocked since Tuesday by a stuck ship

The Japanese owners of a giant container vessel blocking the Suez Canal said on Thursday they were facing “extreme difficulty” refloating it, prompting Egypt to suspend navigation through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. 

It could take weeks to free the ship, said a salvage company, forcing businesses to consider diverting their cargos to the much longer route.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that it was “temporarily suspending navigation” through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. 

It said it was doing all it could to refloat the Panama-flagged MV Ever Given, a 400m-long vessel that veered off course. 

Satellite pictures released by Planet Labs Inc show the 59m-wide container ship wedged diagonally across the entire Suez Canal. 

It is now blocking transit in both directions through one of the world’s busiest shopping channels for goods, and other products linking Asia and Europe.

More than 200 large container ships, tankers carrying oil and gas, and bulk vessels hauling grain have backed up at either end of the Suez Canal.

This, according to tracking data, creating one of the worst shipping jams seen for years.

Japanese ship-leasing firm Shoei Kisen Kaisha said it owned the giant vessel and was facing “extreme difficulty” trying to refloat it.

“In co-operation with local authorities and Bernhard Schulte Ship management, a vessel management company, we are trying to refloat (the ship).

But we are facing extreme difficulty,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha said in a statement on its website.

“We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of worry to ships in the Suez Canal and those planning to go through the canal.”

Tugboats have arrived Suez Canal to help refloat the ship

On Sunday, two additional tugboats sped to the Suez Canal to aid efforts to free a skyscraper-sized container ship wedged.

The tugboats will nudge the 400m-long Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, said Bernhard Schulte Ship-management, which manages the Ever Given.

Source: Channel News Asia

Singapore exports growth at a slowly peace in February

Singapore exports grew at a slow pace in February

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) grew at a slower pace of 4.2 percent in February from a year ago, after hitting a seven-month high of more than 12 percent in January.

Growth was headlined by non-electronic NODX, which rose by 3.3 percent last month, according to official data released by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Wednesday (Mar 17).

A 167.5 percent rise in non-monetary gold NODX was the main driver after such exports plummeted 72.2 percent in February 2020.

Specialized machinery NODX rose 35.6 percent in line with “robust global semiconductor demand” while petrochemicals NODX rose 19.3 percent, also contributing to last month’s non-electronic NODX growth, said ESG.

Electronic NODX grew 7.4 percent from a year ago, driven by exports of personal computers rising 98.3 percent, telecommunications equipment rising 78.6 percent, and diodes and transistors rising 39.1 percent.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, Singapore’s NODX rose 8.2 percent last month to reach S$16.7 billion, following January’s 6.9 percent increase.

Re exports grow

Non-oil re-exports (NORX) also grew at a slower pace of 2.2 percent last month, compared to an 8.8 percent increase in January.

NORX growth was driven by shipments of electronics, mainly integrated circuits, telecommunications equipment, and parts of personal computers.

This outweighed a decline in shipments of non-electronics including aircraft parts, non-electric engines, and motors and piston engines.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, NORX rose 4.7 percent last month to reach S$26.5 billion, extending January’s 4.9 percent increase.

Non-oil retained imports of intermediate goods (NORI) grew by S$1.2 billion to hit S$6.7 billion in February, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Oil domestic exports fell 28 percent in February from a year ago, driven by lower exports to the European Union, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. There was a 29.6 percent contraction in terms of volume.

However, on a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, oil domestic exports grew 6.4 per cent in February.

Fuente: Channel News Asia

Maritime containers how many types exist

Maritime containers: how many types exist

Freight traffic has evolved a lot since its inception. In the middle of the 20th century, a new standard began to be used, maritime containers.

Thanks to these standard containers, the loading, and unloading of ships in ports were simplified. Ships, cranes, trains, and trucks were standardized. In this way, Intermodal transport was created, which is the articulation between different modes of transport using a single measure of cargo, containers, which simplifies loading, unloading, and transshipment.

There are different types of shipping containers, all with standard dimensions and each designed to suit a specific need.

Types of maritime containers

Dry van containers

The Dry Van maritime containers are the most used containers; they are hermetic containers without ventilation. They are stackable up to 8 levels and are made of corten steel, which makes them very robust.

These containers have doors only on one side and standard dimensions with a width of 2.40m and a height of 2.60m. There are two typical models depending on the length, 20 feet and 40 feet which are equivalent to 6 and 12 meters respectively. There are also other less used models such as 30 feet or 10 feet.

High cube container

The High Cube maritime containers are very similar to the Dry Van except for their height since the High cube containers are 9’6 ” (2,896 meters) high and the 40 ‘Dry Van containers are 8’6’ ‘( 2,591 meters). This extra height is ideal for bulky and oversized loads.

Open top maritime containers

The Open Top containers are also very similar to the Dry Van, with averages of 20 and 40 feet, with the difference that the Open Top has no roof. As they do not have a roof, they can be loaded above, making it easier to load heavy or bulky goods that can be difficult to get through the door. To cover the merchandise, a canvas awning is usually put on them.

Open side container

The Open Side maritime containers are another type of container very similar to the Dry Van, although the latter has large 4-leaf doors that allow easy access to the goods for loading and unloading. There are 20 and 40 feet.

They are very useful for loading long goods that cannot be loaded through normal doors or to be able to reach the goods at the back without having to remove all those in front.

Flat rack container

The Flat Rack container is a container without a roof and without sidewalls. It is used to transport heavy or oversized goods. The merchandise is lashed by chains or tapes to the flat rack.

Tank maritime containers

Tank containers are for transporting liquids in bulk. It is a tank contained within a structure of steel beams that make it the same dimensions as a standard container. In this way, the tank can be manipulated and loaded in transports as one more container.

Refrigerated / reefer container

The refrigerated container is a type of container intended for the transport of goods with temperature control, either cold or hot. They can maintain the temperature of the merchandise from -30ºC to + 40ºC, there are even some special models that can reach -60ºC.

We can find refrigerated containers of 20 and 40 feet, even some of 10 feet, although the latter are not usually used for freight traffic. Like the other containers, they can have the normal height or be a high cube.

Cross-docking what is it, types and advantages

Cross-docking: what is it, types and advantages

Cross-docking is a logistics technique where storage time is non-existent or very limited.

As we know, cross-docking allows us to reduce time and costs, how is it possible? All you have to do is transfer shipments from the means of transport in which they arrive at the means of transport in which they leave without intermediate storage.

This distribution technique seeks greater efficiency in the entire supply chain, involving customers and suppliers.

For this reason and to carry out cross-docking, it is important to synchronize the storage and distribution of the merchandise through the following activities:

  1. Pre-distribution. Suppliers prepare the goods to be distributed.
  2. Receipt of the merchandise.
  3. Information capture. Necessary for good control over the merchandise.
  4. Re-packing, cargo consolidation, and merchandise delivery.

Types of Cross Docking

Within this process, there are two variants, pre-distributed cross-docking and consolidated.

Predistributed cross-docking

In predistributed cross-docking, the units to be marketed are already organized by the provider according to their delivery points, therefore they are received and moved to the exit points, (the place where they are with units similar to different suppliers) ready to be shipped.

This model is the most basic to apply since the units do not require any additional handling.


In consolidated cross-docking, the logistics units are received and immediately sent to a conditioning area within the CEDI (Distribution Center), in which they will be organized into new logistics marketing units to be sent to their respective points of sale. destination.

This strategy is frequently used to put together offers for products that will be sent to chain stores or department stores.

Finally, it is important to note that both types of cross-docking provide great benefits: increasing the speed of product flow, reducing handling costs, promoting productivity, and reducing space requirements.

Advantages of cross-docking

Cross-docking has many advantages, among which are:

  • It’s one of the strategies that can be framed within the Efficient Consumer Response philosophy.
  • It manages to improve efficiency and productivity within the supply chain.
  • It is an especially fast and profitable distribution model.
  • allows having an interesting cost reduction in storage, distribution, inventory, and personnel.
  • By reducing stocks, facilitates the task of handling and relocating merchandise, achieving fewer errors.
  • Get a greater freshness of the merchandise and increase its availability.
  • Facilitates meeting deadlines, which is a great advantage for the client.
French wine exports decline in 2020

French wine exports decline in 2020

French wine and spirits exports fell by 13.9% to just under €12.1bn in 2020, said the FEVS trade body on 11 February.

That means the value of orders fell back to 2016 levels, it said, citing US import tariffs and the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis as key factors.

‘One year ago we said it would be a difficult year,’ said César Giron, FEVS chairman. ‘Our expectations were exceeded.’ The group did, however, say that it expected the situation to improve in 2021.

Champagne exports fell by 20.5% in 2020, to just under €2.5bn, with volume down 17%, according to FEVS figures.

Exports of Bordeaux AOC wines fell by 13.9%, to around €1.8bn, although the decline in volume terms was around 3%.

France’s premier fizz wasn’t targeted by tariffs but the regional wine body, Comité Champagne, had already warned last summer of a ‘historic drop’ in shipments – due primarily to the Covid-19 impact.

French still wines have been at the sharp end of a long-running dispute between the EU and US over aerospace industry subsidies.

A 25% import tariff was imposed on still wines at 14% abv or below from France, Spain, Germany, and the UK in October 2019.

Dubbed the ‘Airbus taxes’, FEVS said the move wiped €400m off the value of American imports of French wines in 2020.

Things got worse in January 2021 when US trade officials expanded the tariffs to include French wines above 14%abv, and also grape-based spirits, like Cognac.

French exporters met with French prime minister Jean Castex on Monday to discuss the situation, he added.

‘In this extremely difficult environment, the French wine and spirits exporters found ways to preserve their positions and pave the way to the future and to the economic recovery that we all expect for 2021.’

Source: Decanter.

Non-oil exports rise 1.7% in Singapore

Non-oil exports rise 1.7% in Singapore

Non-oil exports (NOX), which include both non-oil domestic exports (NODX) and non-oil re-exports (NORX), rose year-on-year by 1.7 percent in 2020, after 2019’s 1.9 percent decline.

On a quarter-on-quarter SA basis, NOX grew by 0.5 percent in Q4, following the 5.1 percent rise in the preceding quarter.

Following a drop of 9.2 percent in 2019, a growth of 4.3 percent in NODX last year was due to high shipments of both electronic and non-electronic products, Enterprise Singapore said.

Electronic NODX grew by 4.9 percent in 2020, after the 22.5 percent contraction in the previous year. Non-electronic NODX increased by 4.1 percent in 2020, after the 4.5 percent decline in 2019.

On a year-on-year basis, NODX decreased by 0.5 percent in Q4, after the previous quarter’s 6.5 percent rise, due to the decline in non-electronic NODX, which outweighed the increase in electronics.

Electronic domestic exports rose by 2.6 percent in Q4, following the previous quarter’s 9.2 percent growth. Non-electronic NODX declined by 1.4 percent in Q4, after the 5.7 percent rise in the previous quarter.

On a quarter-on-quarter SA basis, NODX decreased by 4.7 percent in Q4, after the 2.2 percent growth in Q3, due to the decline in both electronic and non-electronic NODX.

Electronic domestic exports declined on a quarter-on-quarter SA basis by 3.7 percent in Q4 2020, following the previous quarter’s 2.6 percent decrease. Non-electronic NODX declined by 4.9 percent in Q4 2020, after the 3.7 percent rise in the previous quarter.

Enterprise Singapore reported that NODX to all top markets grew as a whole in 2020 – however, exports to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia declined.

The biggest contributors to the growth in NODX were the US (+38.3 percent), Japan (+26.1 percent), and South Korea (+27.2 percent).

Electronic non-oil domestic exports to the top markets also grew in 2020.

The biggest contributors to the electronic NODX increase were Taiwan (+27.9 percent), the US (+31.9 percent), and Thailand (+17.9 percent). The top three products contributing to the increase in electronic NODX were ICs to Taiwan and disk media products to the US and Thailand.

Non-electronic NODX to the top markets as a whole also increased in 2020, though exports to China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia declined.

The biggest contributors to the growth in non-electronic NODX were the US (+39.6 percent), Japan (+33.7 percent), and the EU 27 (+10.9 percent). The top three products contributing to the rise in non-electronic NODX were non-monetary gold to the US and EU and pharmaceuticals to Japan.

Source: Channel News Asia