Trendwatch: Global trade growth to slow down in 2023: WTO; Indonesia to propose limited free trade deal with US on critical minerals; FRA seeks re-evaluation of ‘train makeup’

Global trade growth to slow down in 2023: WTO

World Trade Organisation (WTO) economists said in a new forecast that global trade growth in 2023 is still expected to be subpar despite a slight upgrade to GDP projections since last fall.

In fact, weighed down by the effects of the war in Ukraine, high inflation, tighter monetary policy and financial market uncertainty, the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to grow by 1.7% this year, following 2.7% growth in 2022, a smaller-than-expected increase that was pulled down by a sharp slump in the fourth quarter.

Container News


Indonesia to propose limited free trade deal with US on critical minerals

Indonesia will propose a free trade agreement for some minerals shipped to the United States so that companies in the electric vehicle battery supply chain operating in the country can benefit from U.S. tax credits, a senior minister said on Monday.

Washington has issued a new guidance for EV tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), requiring a certain value of battery components to be produced or assembled in North America or a free trade partner. The rules are aimed at weaning the United States off dependence on China for the development of its EV battery supply chain.



FRA seeks re-evaluation of ‘train makeup’

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is calling for a reevaluation of “train makeup” April 6, in the aftermath of a series of derailments.

According to The Hill, the FRA issued a safety advisory, raising concerns about the makeup of trains and seeking to make sure that railroads “exercise due diligence” and are proactive in addressing possible safety risks in the way they build trains. The advisory states that the agency has observed an increasing trend in both build and makeup being potential causes or contributing factors in derailments.

Supply Chain Brain


Can a book written in the 1960s offer a path to ILWU-PMA agreement?

In 2023, resistance to automation is a factor delaying a new contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). It is instructive to recall that back in 1960 the ILWU, under its founding President Harry Bridges, helped trail-blaze mechanization (and containerization) at U.S. West Coast ports.

During the 1960s, thanks to growing trade from Asia, container volumes exploded resulting in major benefits to West Coast ports while resistance to automation by union members at East and Gulf Coast ports did not result in the same benefit.

The Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma were major beneficiaries of the move to containerization and mechanization.



Japan proposes industrial hub in Bangladesh with supply chains to India

Japan has proposed developing an industrial hub in Bangladesh with supply chains to the landlocked northeastern states of India, and to Nepal and Bhutan beyond by developing a port and transport in the region, officials said on Tuesday.

It comes after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to India last month in which he touted the idea of a new industrial hub for the Bay of Bengal and northeast India that could bolster development in the impoverished region of 300 million people.



Q2 State of Freight, Security & Optimism

Transportation industry trends heading into Q2 and mid-year continue to be a bellwether for the global business climate.

As leading economic indicators and news developments hint at the status quo for the months ahead, implementing autonomous logistics across your transportation operations expands your control over costs and service to customers.

The March Logistics Managers’ Index showed the lowest reading in its history as transportation prices hit an "all-time low," and transportation utilization reflected no upward movement for the first time in 2023.



South Korea and India to strengthen supply chain cooperation

South Korea plans on strengthening cooperation with India as Seoul attempts to align with a US-led push to diversify the global supply chain away from China.

“In the era of economic security, it is essential to strengthen the supply chain and science and technology cooperation with India,” said Foreign Minister Park Jin, who was on a two-day visit to India that began Friday. Park said India shares universal values such as democracy, possesses enormous growth potential, and is a crucial partner for South Korea, according to a foreign ministry statement on Sunday.