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Brext: failing to plan is planning to fail, says FTA

FTA, the business organisation which speaks for the logistics industry, welcomes the new clarity and direction that the General Election result provides to business in terms of Brexit planning.

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Brext: failing to plan is planning to fail, says FTA
Brext: failing to plan is planning to fail, says FTA. Image: Wikimedia/ Christoph Scholz

FTA, the business organisation which speaks for the logistics industry, welcomes the new clarity and direction that the General Election result provides to business in terms of Brexit planning.  However, FTA is warning that, without the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament, there is still the risk of a No Deal departure from the EU on 31 January 2020 – which could bring chaos to the UK’s highly interconnected supply chain, and the industry which relies upon it.

Assuming Prime Minister Boris Johnson follows through on his commitment that he will “get Brexit done” and achieves ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by Parliament, Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s Head of Global and European Policy, is keen that the focus for government should then shift to details of the future trading arrangements between the UK and EU:

“What logistics and supply chain managers need above all is clarity over the Brexit’s end game. While the short-term priority is to ensure that the UK leaves with a ratified withdrawal agreement, we need answers to the big questions about our future trading arrangements with Europe. Most of the crucial topics related to trade and transport have yet to be negotiated with the EU, in what will be a very short amount of time. Entering these negotiations with a clear picture of what logistics needs will be critical to its success.  Minimising frictions, red tape and costs should be at the heart of the negotiations if UK PLC is to continue trading effectively,” she says.

According to FTA, the three priorities still concerning businesses across the sector which is responsible for keeping Britain’s industry and consumers stocked with the products they need are:
Final confirmation of the arrangements for imports and exports between the UK and Europe need to be agreed – business needs to know what the processes required will be and have time to learn and implement them.

Agreement on the situation on the Northern Ireland border, including the potential for checks and where and how these are to be made

The ongoing situation regarding the employment of EU nationals within a sector that relies on them for vital labour – with more than 53,000 lorry driver vacancies already in the UK, and more in warehousing, van driving and other key roles across the sector, the loss of the 343,000 EU nationals working in British logistics firms could see vehicle movements and the supply chain as a whole come to a standstill.

“Our members are agile and know how to adapt to changing circumstances and new risks and opportunities, but to do so, they will need sufficient advanced notice of the changes that are to come. Ensuring they are involved every step of the way, from the definition of the negotiating mandate to implementation of new rules is the best way of ensuring that the new trade and transport arrangements will work in practice and allow logistics to Keep Britain Trading. As the voice of logistics, we stand ready to do just this”.

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

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China’s trade with Bulgaria up 5.1 pct in 2019

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China's trade with Bulgaria up 5.1 pct in 2019. Image: Pixabay
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China’s trade with Bulgaria grew by 5.1 percent year on year in 2019 to 2.72 billion U.S. dollars, said an official with the Ministry of Commerce.

Since the establishment of the China-Central and Eastern European Countries cooperation mechanism in 2012, China and Bulgaria have made positive progress in cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, infrastructure and other fields, said Yu Jianhua, vice commerce minister and deputy China international trade representative, at the China-Bulgaria Business Forum.

So far, China’s investment in the country has amounted to 740 million U.S. dollars.

China is willing to work with Bulgaria to tap the huge potential of the Belt and Road and advance bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a higher level, Yu said.

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Guangdong’s trade with Belt & Road countries up 4.7 pct in 2019

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Guangdong's trade with Belt & Road countries up 4.7 pct in 2019. Image: Wikimedia/ ma luyao
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South China’s Guangdong Province witnessed a 4.7-percent increase in its trade with Belt and Road countries in 2019.

According to the government report delivered at the annual provincial legislative session, the China-Europe freight trains departing from Guangdong saw their annual cargo volume increase by 31.2 percent year on year in 2019.

The province also had five new friendship cities, and its friendship city network covered major countries along the Belt and Road by the end of last year.

According to the report, the province will continue to support its enterprises in participating in infrastructure projects and energy development in Belt and Road countries, and develop more businesses and transport modes for the China-Europe freight trains in 2020.

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Whistl to offer semi tracked import service from 220 countries

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Whistl to offer semi tracked import service from 220 countries. Image: Geograph/ Mark Anderson
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Whistl and One World Express have joined forces to offer eCommerce importers into the UK a tracked postal service, Insight, from 220 countries worldwide.

Under the agreement, eCommerce importers will be able to print one label for an individual item in the country of origin and track it through the various transit stages, including customs clearance. When Whistl receive the item in the UK it will be processed in the network and handed to Royal Mail for delivery to the end consumer.

Established in 1998, the then One World Express Group (OWE) started as a UK-based cross-border express carrier. Today, it has become a data-driven IT platform currently managing 10.000+ tariffs on behalf of its clients to destinations worldwide. In 2016 OWE started to extend its integration library, integrating with marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Lazada and also various eCommerce platforms such as Magento, allowing its customers to manage orders from all their sales channels using a one-stop-solution through their technology platform “Smarttrack”.

Nick Wells, CEO Whistl, said:
“With the unprecedented expansion of the eCommerce industry globally and the rise of imports into the UK, consumers are looking for greater transparency on the delivery journey from country of origin to their home. Whistl is delighted that we will be working with One World Express to enable eCommerce importers from 220 countries to semi track every item they import into the UK before handover to Royal Mail via Insight.”

Atul Bhakta, CEO One World Express Group, said:
“By collaborating with the leading delivery management company in the UK, global customers who are importing into the UK, now have access to the experts who understand the importance of the customer experience from origin to handover to the consumer. We look forward to building our Insight relationship together.”

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