Smoother and faster customs procedures could boost global trade volumes and economic output. Blockchain is a promising technology that, if widely adopted by shippers and customs agencies, could reduce the current mounds of paperwork and costs associated with import and export licenses, cargo and shipping documents, and customs declarations.
80 percent of all global trade is transacted through third-party lenders and cargo insurers, but the process is complex, can be costly and many banks find it too risky to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency, speed and accuracy in assessing risk across the trade finance process, which in turn could expand the supply of credit available for SMEs.
There are rough waters ahead for shippers dealing with the tariff uncertainties. The prospect of tariff hikes is incentivizing companies to lock in better shipping prices now. But many retailers are competing just to find space for their goods on an ocean carrier, and the shipment surge has resulted in massive congestion at ports and warehouses.
Blockchain technologies will play an increasing role in international trade. Using blockchain to track the origins of raw materials and follow domestic and international supply chains can help meet the increasing demand for consumer information about globally produced goods, providing more transparency and accuracy about a product’s long journey to the store.
Jayme Smaldone noticed that knockoffs of his Mighty Mug were selling on e-Bay for very cheap and included free shipping. But for his company, the cost was about $6.30 to ship the same (original) mug from their New Jersey warehouse to a U.S. location, even one across the street. How could that be?
Polar caps in the Arctic are receding, creating access to new trade routes for parts of the year. The routes are valuable short cuts for global trade but the waterways are precarious to navigate with unpredictable weather, the need for specialized icebreaking ships, and the necessity to operate at slower speeds, all of which make the routes less commercially reliable and partially offset the savings in time and fuel. So why are Russia and China racing other major powers to gain control of these waterways?
China and Europe trade over €1 billion a day on average. With more than 61 routes traversing 43 Chinese cities and 41 European cities across 13 countries, new direct rail linkages are connecting the more than 6,000 miles between China and Europe and transforming the way cargo moves on the Eurasian continent.
Americans spent 8 billion hours in 2015 sitting in traffic. Our individual productivity takes a hit, but so does the productivity of our businesses and the overall economy. In the same way, bottlenecks clearing products through customs at international borders can waste time and money and even disrupt business plans and supplier relationships.
Because most everything can be found online and purchased in small quantities, most consumers don’t see much difference between buying toothpaste from CVS online or purchasing an Alex Galchenyuk hockey trading card from Canada on eBay. But when the product is shipped across an international border, the “de minimis” rule is in play.
They say variety is the spice of life. As millions of households around the world can increasingly afford to diversify their diets, stimulating global demand for more meat, fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an opportunity farmers in America and in developing countries are preparing to seize.