The Portuguese literary giant of the twentieth century, Jose Saramago, wrote a delightful, surreal and fantastical novel in the 1980s called The Stone Raft. It tells the story of a strange occurrence in the Pyrenees along the Franco-Spanish border when a breach opens up in the ground and the whole Iberian Peninsula physically breaks away from the rest of Europe and floats off westward into the Atlantic on a collision course with the Azores and the Americas. Chaos ensues as the authorities, bureaucrats and ordinary people in Spain and Portugal try to come to terms with their new and changing reality. It is an exceptionally entertaining and well-written fantasy.
Brexit on the other hand, is not a fantasy, but rather an unfolding reality with the prospect of a no-deal outcome with just two and half months to go to the October 31st 2019 exit date having risen significantly with the replacement of Theresa May by Boris Johnson at the head of the British government. However, while the United Kingdom may leave the European Union, with or without a deal, unlike Iberia in Saramago’s fiction, Britain can never leave Europe geographically. It will always be there, right where it is now, with France to the south, Ireland to the west and the Low Counties and the North Sea to the east and north.
At the time of writing it appears that we are entering a new period of extreme political brinkmanship with three months to go to the October 31st deadline. What the outcome will be is anyone’s guess in this moment of volatility and uncertainty. However, one thing that we can be sure about in Ireland, whatever the outcome of the Brexit process, is that stability and certainty on the future trading relationship with the United Kingdom is very far off. Consequently, we must accelerate our plans and actions as business people to mitigate the worst effects of Brexit and to ensure that our businesses can survive and thrive into the future.
International supply chain partners are myriad, and include suppliers, sister companies, carriers, service providers, distributors, agents, and brokers as well the compliance, regulatory and fiscal authorities in all the jurisdictions where the business operates. Managing this multiplicity of relationships and connections is complex and challenging, even for the largest of organizations with substantial resources at their disposal, and a one-size-fits-all approach and model is simply neither effective nor efficient – a differentiated approach is required.
Logistics Consultant: Disruption and volatility have become the new normal in today’s world of technological innovation, societal polarization and geopolitical tensions. Rather than running in fear from this reality, I believe that businesses will do much better for themselves, their shareholders, their employees and their customers if they turn around, face this reality, and embrace it.
In my career over the last twenty years or so as a consultant, speaker, and author, I have had the opportunity to visit and work in over twenty different countries across five continents including places as diverse as China, India, Croatia, and Uruguay. This experience has been tremendously enriching for me professionally and personally. Furthermore, it has enhanced my reputation in the eyes of my clients as a business consultant who understands and appreciates the practicalities and complexities of running business operations across international borders.
The strong export ties between the United Kingdom and Ireland have been a major economic driver for both countries. Not only is the United Kingdom one of the biggest export partners of Ireland – buying a total of €15 billion worth of goods in 2016 plus 50% of the country’s exported beef and 42% of its food and drink – but UK is Ireland’s only land border in EU, and vice versa. In fact, some 80% of the Irish road freight that reaches mainland Europe passes through the UK.
Those factors alone make UK-Irish trade a unique relationship. However, looming Brexit looming, there are critical border issues and challenges that are expected to disrupt this trading relationship and force Irish exporters to rethink their supply chain operations.
Yet, despite the potential supply chain upheaval Brexit could cause, a large majority of Irish export companies are yet to develop mitigation strategies. According to reports, two-thirds of Irish exporters are still unprepared for the impending withdrawal of the UK from EU and have not put any countermeasures in place to mitigate Brexit risks. Of these companies, 23% said the lack of information on alternative markets to the UK as the main obstacle to identifying and establishing a foothold in new markets.
Global Trade in Fresh Produce – Challenges and Trends.
The global fresh produce market has been growing steadily. In 2016, market research provider Euromonitor International reported that the global demand for fresh food increased by nearly 3% over global demand in 2015. This was in line with Compound Annual Growth Rate of 3% achieved over the 2011-2016 review period.
The growth of this market is also supported by a separate report from Wiseguyreports.com, which forecasts that the global fresh produce market will grow at a CAGR of 3.01% from 2017 to 2021.
It was great to have Shane Cradock on Breakthrough Brands.
Corrie Shannon is an extraordinary Irish woman who from her beginnings in Dublin’s Marino area via college in UCD, a stint as a correspondent in Moscow and a big job with the World Bank has come to make Washington D.C. her home, where she now lives and works, running her own business and raising her son.