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About: Edi Lenkic

Recent Posts by Edi Lenkic

8 TIPS TO GET YOU THROUGH PEAK SEASON – IN ONE PIECE!

It’s that time of year again – Peak Season and I thought I’d share some of the tips and strategies we use at Magellan to get through it.

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SERVICE TAX ON CARGO LANDED IN INDIA ON / AFTER 22 JAN 2017

It appears that a significant service tax (4.5%) is to be levied by the Indian Ministry of Finance for all cargoes landed in India on or after 22 January 2017. The tax is to be collected by the foreign-owned shipping lines, who have already attempted to start collecting the tax from Australian exporters. Up until recently an exemption was given on pre-paid ocean freight.

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G20 Shanghai – why is China’s presidency so significant?

In 2016 the Group of Twenty (G20)*, finance leaders and government heads from the twenty major economic countries of the world, will meet in the ancient Chinese city of Hangzhou in the Eastern region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). With world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western dignitaries in attendance the eyes of the world will fall on this vast region of high tech and textile manufacturing near the Eastern coast. While the G20 is principally an economic forum the relationship between economics and climate change will be on show.

Textile Industry Closure

The Chinese government is considering temporarily closing the nearby Province of Zhejiang’s textile manufacturing to reduce air contamination during the G20 summit. This action could possibly idle over half of the textile dyeing industry in China.

While it is too early to say for sure whether the Government will order the shutdown, it has been rumoured that the closure could be three months in length, just before the beginning of the summit. Local government sources quickly stated that it would be impossible for a closure of that length to be achievable given the massive amount of goods that the region produces. Yet experts note that the situation would be quite an opportunity to show how much air pollution could be reduced within the province. This may prove a game changer for the entire region as Beijing had also made agreements during international climate talks in December 2015’s Paris Climate discussions.

China is still somewhat of a closed society for gauging public and international reaction, particularly when large scale events like closing down entire manufacturing regions are concerned. But, one can imagine that complete closure, even for a short period of time, will cause market and industrial disturbances on a significant scale. And it isn’t difficult to imaging the flow-on impact of these on the Australian TCF and retail industries.

China’s G20 Presidency

China’s G-20 presidency in 2016 is themed to help lay the groundwork for a world economy that is more “innovative, invigorated, interconnected, and inclusive.” and that office, China is set to become even more of a major player on the world’s financial and environmental stage.

China’s recent willingness to pursue trade agreements and the imminent inclusion of the reminbi in the group of currencies that determine the value of the IMF’s reserve asset, Special Drawing Rights, China’s capacity to help the world (especially emerging-market economies) cope with market volatility will be greatly enhanced.

This bodes well for China’s capacity to help counter the global slowdown in growth, trade, and investment. And not a moment too soon: The ongoing slowdown is among the greatest risks the world currently faces, because it could compound instability in already-fragile countries, while compelling more robust economies to turn inward, rather than address growing crises.

With a binding greenhouse gas agreement in the works at the United Nations, it behoves China to work within the framework of its own country to solve the issues that industrialisation has brought to the country. If closure of Zhejiang’s textile industry can demonstrate measurable environmental results and throw a spotlight on the problem, then it is possible, with help from other G-20 partners and technological advancement, that the PRC as a whole can work towards improving its air quality, as well as find new ways to grow their industrial might.

With the right mix of realism and power sharing, China’s G-20 presidency has the potential to catalyse important progress to strengthen the foundation of a new global economic structure for the twenty-first century … and to further underscore the importance of environmental commitments in the attainment of this.

*Collectively, the G-20 economies account for approximately 80% of the gross world product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade (including EU intra-trade), and two-thirds of the world population. They furthermore accounted for 84% of the world’s economic growth by nominal GDP from the years 2010 to 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Sources and more information:
http://schema-root.org/region/international/government/g20/
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-11/16/c_134822759.htm
http://www.thechinamoneyreport.com/2016/01/02/china-in-2016-fewer-jobs-lower-consumer-confidence/
http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/12/how-will-china-use-its-g20-presidency/
http://www.chinatexnet.com/textile-news/2016-02-03/554832.html

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Major changes in the international seafreight shipping market – UPDATE

Largely in response to stagnant import market conditions (see my post from September this year) and a lack of profitability in the containerised seafreight market, the industry is seeing some changes beginning to emerge.

As a follow up to my earlier article here are the updates:

  1. China Shipping and Cosco – two major carriers participating in North Asia to Australia trading are working on a merger agreement;
  2. NYK will cease to operate within the Australian containerised market effective from Quarter 2, 2016;
  3. Acquisition of APL is currently being considered by several lines including Giants, Maersk and CMA-CGM;
  4. Two major services (CKA and NEAX) from North Asia, key ports for the Australian trade will be combining into one service, the members in these two consortiums will re-allocate their capacities for the new service. This is set to take effect in Quarter 2, 2016.  As a result:
    • CKA Service will be suspended;
    • A 10% or 3500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) capacity per week reduction.

What does this mean for importers?

  1. While the merger between CSCL and Cosco, pending acquisition of APL, NYK’s withdrawal and the combined service clearly indicates a lack of performance in the Australia trade, some industry wisdom view this as a positive change;
  2. Shipping lines are optimistic that the containerized shipping market may gradually swing back and become “vendor’s market” rather than a “buyer’s market” as it is at present;
  3. Seafreight rates are likely to increase over the course of the year and will probably fluctuate less than what has been experienced since the GFC in 2008.

With the potential for higher freight rates next year this will impact importers who are already struggling with the impact of the weakening Australian Dollar, making some imports unviable.  However, as most of my customers say, the freight rates are not really influential on purchasing product from overseas, rather they consider it to be an additional cost. This just makes the need to ensure competitive freight rates even more crucial to their bottom lines.

For a confidential discussion about freight rates and all your logistics needs, please get in touch with me via email or call 1300 651 888.

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Import market remains stagnant and impacts international freight

The current state of freight volumes, in particular international sea freight, remain in a lull and the outlook even for the Peak Season, does not look particularly prosperous for ocean carriers participating in the Asia to Australia trade.

Since the GFC in 2008, ocean carriers have battled to sustain rates at desirable levels and have been forced to rationalise throughout the year to improve revenue streams.  This has meant that ocean carriers have frequently reduced tonnage on vessels and suspended services due to lack of performance with trade.  Some vessels have not been reaching capacity, forcing carriers to draw the line and cut back on tonnage.

Industry wisdom has interpreted the sustained low volumes a number of ways.  One theory holds that market saturation is driving the ocean freight rates down, with the main culprits being the emerging, smaller carriers.  There is some truth to this as a number of carriers have recently withdrawn from the market.  Of course, this is not the only reason; other influencing factors include:

  • The impact of the weakening Australian Dollar (against USD) – It wasn’t so long ago that the Australian Dollar was at parity with USD, but current exchange rates mean many businesses are able to buy domestically and often in smaller volumes.
  •  Consumer confidence remains low. We are seeing importers adopt more prudent buying behaviour.  While this is a safer option and reduces cash tied up in inventory, on the flip side it can lead to missed opportunities as the market kicks.
  • Additional volume capacity has come on line in the market with two lines introduced bigger ships resulting in supply outstripping demand.
  • Fuel, the biggest running cost of shipping lines is at record lows. (As an aside, OOCL made record profits this year, even though rates were depressed, all down to fuel.)

All this adds up to a scenario of heavy discounting by shipping lines as they compete to maintain tonnage and react to price shopping by importers.  But, how influential are international freight rates…?

I suggest the following to importers:

  • Understand the market dynamics and that sea freight rates fluctuate significantly throughout the year – always have.
  • Ensure your freight forwarder is demonstrating the integrity and transparency that you deserve by keeping you informed of projected changes to freight rates and applying reductions when the market drops.
  • Price isn’t everything. By all means consider offers you receive from forwarders but you should also take into account whether your service expectations are being met by your provider and whether they fit with your plans for the future.

 

If you would like a confidential discussion about your importing and freight forwarding needs please call Edi Lenkic on 1300 651 888or if you’re in New Zealand call Paul Knight (09) 974 4818.  Alternatively visit www.magellanlogistics.com.au for more information or email info@maglog.com.au

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HOW TO: Choose a freight forwarder

How to choose a freight forwarder?  On the face of it, it would seem pretty simple.  But in my experience, those who embark on the process of buying product from overseas can find it a bit of a challenge to select the right freight forwarder and customs broker for their business.  In many instances the intricacies of the logistics and supply chain process is not a core skill.

In general, as an importer you will – rightly – devote most of your attention to sourcing the right product, negotiating with overseas suppliers, obtaining product samples by international courier and/or visiting the overseas supplier abroad to meet with product managers, visit and inspect their site, quality control and obtaining an understanding of their manufacturing process.

When the overseas supplier assures you that they have their own forwarding agent with whom they regularly ship on a CFR (Cost of Goods and Freight) basis the challenge of the supply chain process and selecting a forwarding agent may seem to be alleviated.

So, job done – right?  Couldn’t be simpler to have the supplier handle the exporting too.  While this might seem like a big relief and a streamlining of a seemingly cumbersome process, there are often services and deals to be had by working with an Australian based freight forwarder and customs agent for two main reasons:

  1. The overseas supplier will book with their preferred agent, usually not to meet the needs of the importer, but to suit their own,
  2. CFR (Cost of Goods and Freight) is not the end of the story and often by the time the importers receive the invoice from the local receiving agent in Australia, a lot of unnecessary cost has been incurred which is often be due to the supplier’s handling of the negotiation. This is especially prevalent with LCL (Less than Container Load) cargo where, a whole system of rebates between the load port forwarding agent and the destination port forwarding agent are available.

How to choose a freight forwarder checklist:

  • Find your own freight forwarder and import on an FOB (Free on Board) basis to ensure control of costs, visibility and flexibility.
  • Understand and extrapolate what it is you really want and what your logistics needs are now and in the future. Ask the appropriate questions to qualify your freight forwarder candidate.
  • Select a forwarder who specialises in the market or industry you participate in. For instance, if you are importing clothing or footwear, find a forwarder that specialises in this.  There are a number of players in the marketplace that specialise in apparel logistics – large, medium and boutique.  It can be a good idea to match your business size relative to your industry to that of your forwarder.  For example, if you are a medium sized or boutique business you will have specific needs and may require a bespoke service to meet them.  Forwarders that serve a niche market tend to be more agile, flexible and adapt quickly to sudden changes to your freight requirements.
  • Pricing is important and it is imperative to not leave your money on the table, it is also important to find a forwarder that has good systems and processes and a good reputation amongst your peers. Your industry networks and social media can help you find a reputable company.
  • Ensure you understand what you will pay for your consignment and beware of extra or hidden costs.
  • Seek full transparency and integrity from your forwarder.
  • Choose a forwarder with an appropriate reporting or tracking system for visibility.
  • And finally, many forwarders in Australia have a wealth of knowledge about your origin country and markets and in many instances can provide you with the benefit of this to save you time, money and anxiety at all stages of the importing process.

 

If you would like a confidential discussion about your  importing and freight forwarding needs please call Edi Lenkic on 1300 651 888,  or if you’re in New Zealand call Paul Knight (09) 974 4818.  Alternatively visit www.magellanlogistics.com.au for more information.

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