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Strategic Insights: Key International Trade Trends Impacting Your Supply Chain in 2024



1) SMEs in the Face of the Growing Importance of Sustainability in Supply Chains

Small and medium-sized enterprises play a crucial role in promoting sustainability and green recovery, as per the UN, representing over 90% of all businesses, contributing an average of 70% to total employment, and constituting 50% of GDP. Sustainability is significantly impacting supply chains.


Consumers increasingly prefer products and services from sustainable businesses, and investors are keen on companies with strong sustainability performance. Non-compliance with this demand poses risks of losing customers and funding. Additionally, governments are imposing regulations to reduce environmental impact. Therefore, sustainability is becoming a major differentiator in the global market; implementing sustainable strategies and having green certifications enhance competitiveness.


2) The Development of International Trade Digitization

Digitization enhances the scale, scope, and speed of trade, allowing companies to offer new products and services to a larger digitally connected customer base worldwide. The ongoing development of international trade digitization is expected to boost the efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness of global trade in the coming years.


Furthermore, blockchain technology is anticipated to be adopted by businesses in the future, facilitating secure and transparent information recording for international trade, covering information exchange, payments, and goods tracking. Artificial intelligence is also increasingly used by companies to automate processes, improve supply chain visibility, and make more informed decisions.


3) Rise of E-commerce

E-commerce has become an invaluable opportunity for growth and customer engagement in the current business world. It's essential for companies to understand the importance of adapting to the digital era and capitalizing on the advantages offered by e-commerce. Those not embracing this trend risk falling behind and losing competitiveness in an ever-evolving market. The future is online, and businesses should maximize the opportunities that e-commerce provides.

To capitalize on the e-commerce boom, it's crucial to start considering the digitization of supply chains, allowing companies to efficiently manage orders and product transportation over the Internet.


4) Nearshoring Trend

Nearshoring is a rising strategy, with companies increasingly seeking suppliers mindful of the environmental and social impact of their operations. This trend opens long-term opportunities for those adopting sustainable and responsible practices, providing them with a high degree of competitiveness.


5) Economic and Inflation Outlook for 2024

The global economy continues to face challenges of inflation and low growth prospects. According to the OECD, global GDP growth is projected to be 2.9% in 2023, decreasing to 2.7% in 2024. General annual inflation in the OECD is expected to gradually decrease from 7% in 2023 to 5.2% in 2024.


6)Panama Canal Outlook

Due to recent water shortages, the Panama Canal is experiencing a drought, leading authorities to reduce the number of allowed vessel transits. This has resulted in costly maneuvers for shipping companies. Scientists believe climate change may be prolonging drought periods, and some maritime experts suggest vessels might have to avoid the canal entirely if the situation worsens. A reduced number of transits could mean Panama loses tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue, increases maritime transportation costs, and raises greenhouse gas emissions as vessels opt for longer routes.


7) Asia-Pacific Container Market Outlook - Mainly USA, Mexico, and Chile

The Asia-Pacific container shipping market is expected to continue recovering and experience significant growth, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.3% from 2022 to 2029, according to Data Bridge Market Research analysis. This growth will be driven by factors such as economic growth, Asia's economic integration, and improved transport infrastructure.


Regarding the outlook for the container market in the Asia-Pacific region for the United States, Mexico, and Chile, continued growth is anticipated in the coming years. The United States is the primary importer of containers from Asia, with demand expected to increase. Mexico and Chile are also significant importers, and container demand is projected to rise as their economies expand.

 

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