The Long & Short of International Supply Chains

Monday Morning Mint #2

In our second Monday Morning Mint, we develop a possible future at the confluence of growing geopolitical polarization, rising protectionism, and the calls for re-shoring of critical supply chains.

How might such a world impact your business?

PLUS Recap of our Introduction to Monday Morning Mints

Monday Morning Mints: Recap

What makes a Mint?

  • Confluences of headlines from last week (or older IF relevant)
  • Provocations, e.g., hypothetical headlines from possible future(s)
  • References that support or oppose the provocations — for you to explore

Why should I ‘pop’ a Mint?

  • Start meaningful conversations with colleagues and friends
  • Think about how the future may or may not unfold
  • Act by building scenarios for your business and developing responses

What Mints are and aren’t

  • Mints are Imaginations of possible futures, meant to provoke thinking
  • Mints aren’t Predictions; that’s not our purpose.
  • Mints are designed to have Gaps — you can fill in the blanks or subvert

What can I expect?

  • Usually published every other Sunday, in the evening, GMT
  • Based on News and Opinions from the preceding weeks, months, and years
  • Open to Suggestions from you — send us news, ask us what-ifs
Attention Economy

1,363 words | 05’09” reading time | 50/100 readability (similar to NYT)

(excludes the reading time of linked articles and the Introduction to Monday Morning Mints)

Reading Guide
  • Confluence —
    • You may choose to skip links #2 and onward if short on time; links #2 and beyond may also be older and/or more detailed
    • Dates correspond to the most significant development even though the issue at hand may be a long-developing matter of policy (for example)
  • Provocation —
    • Numbered hashtags provide past references supporting OR contradicting the provocation
    • Best to refer to all links in this section for a better perspective
Editor’s Notes

Please report broken links, if any, in the comments so we can fix the issues

Table of Contents
  • Confluence
  • Provocation & References
  • What Now?

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International Supply Chains: Confluence

Tap the headings below to read the selected news, opinions, and analysis.

Supply Chain Polarization
  • Mar 05, 2021 | Protectionism Around Natural Resources is Surging [#1 news, #2 analysis]
  • Mar 25, 2021 | China Says Members of RCEP Pact Aim for Deal to Take Effect from 2022 [#1 news, #2 news]
  • May 05, 2021 | EU Unveils Plan to Cut Dependency on China, Others [#1 news, #2 release, #3 strategy]
  • Jun 08, 2021 | Biden Plan to Build Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalize American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth [#1 release, #2 report, #3 manifesto, #4 news, #5 opinion]
  • Jul 12, 2021 | Localizing Supply Chains in the Middle East [#1 infographic, #2 brief, #3 analysis]
Supply Chain Shortening/Re-shoring/Near-shoring
  • May 12, 2020 | The Coronavirus Pandemic Showed Why We Need Shorter, Simpler Supply Chains [#1 opinion]
  • May 28, 2020 | Will Coronavirus Pandemic Finally Kill Off Global Supply Chains? [#1 opinion]
  • Nov 19, 2020 | Pandemic Prompts Rethink of Food Supply Chains [#1 opinion]
  • Mar 24, 2021 | Pandemic Reveals Weak Links in Global Supply Chain [#1 opinion]
  • Apr 06, 2021 | COVID Stimulus Revives Calls for Washington to ‘Buy American’ [#1 report]
  • Apr 06, 2021 | Short Food Supply Chains: Reconnecting Producers and Consumers [#1 review]
  • Apr 29, 2021 | More EU Member States Join Forces to Support Local Chip Production [#1 news]
  • Jun 28, 2021 | Stretched Global Supply Chain Means Shortages on Summer Menus [#1 news]
  • Jul 12, 2021 | Intel Offers to Spread $20 Billion Chip Factory Investment Across EU [#1 news, #2 news, #3 news]
  • Jul 13, 2021 | UK, European Manufacturers Want Battery Supply Chain Nearer Home — survey [#1 news]
Supply Chain Transparency & Sustainability
  • Jun 19, 2020 | How Supply Chain Transparency can help Businesses Make the Right Calls [#1 opinion]
  • Oct 23, 2020 | Campaigners Criticize Global Deal on Carbon Emissions from Shipping [#1 news]
  • Feb 15, 2021 | Why Supply Chain Transparency is Becoming More Dominant in 2021 [#1 opinion]
  • Mar 10, 2021 | EU Moves Towards Mandatory Supply Chain Due Diligence [#1 news, #2 proposal #3 analysis]
  • Mar 22, 2021 | West Sanctions China Over Xinjiang Abuses, Beijing Hits Back at EU [#1 news]
  • Mar 30, 2021 | Shipping Industry Emissions Keep Sailing Upward [#1 news, #2 report]
  • May 04, 2021 | UNISON Demands Human Rights Due Diligence Law for Supply Chains [#1 news]
  • Jun 11, 2021 | Germany Passes Law on Tougher Oversight of Supply Chains [#1 news]
  • Jun 13, 2021 | G7 On Forced Labor, Climate Change, Inclusion, and Resilience [#1 & #2 release, #3 consensus, #4 communique]
  • Jul 12, 2021 | Ship Owners are Concerned About a Revamp to Europe’s Carbon Market [#1 news]
Maritime Woes
  • Apr 12, 2021 | Higher Shipping Costs are Here to Stay [#1 opinion]
  • Jun 13, 2021 | How Bad are Global Shipping Snafus? [#1 news]
  • Jul 01, 2021 | Unprecedented Levels of Congestion are Resulting in Vessel Delays that are Absorbing Needed Capacity [#1 update]
  • Jul 09, 2021 | Global Container Port Congestion Squeezes Operators’ Margins [#1 research]
  • Jul 11, 2021 | Container Imbalance Stymies Trade [#1 opinion]
  • Jul 12, 2021 | Booking Suspension [#1, #2], New Surcharges [#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6]
  • Jul 12, 2021 | European Forwarders Call for Fairer Intermodal Taxation Regime [#1 & #2 news]
  • Jul 16, 2021 | Container Prices YoY Comparison [see chart below]
Container Prices have skyrocketed

International Supply Chains: Provocation & References

Here are Headlines and Statements from Interviews in a Possible Future, the latest last. Starred statements have already been given, in reality.

  • *Vaccine nationalism will only prolong the Pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and the human and economic suffering they cause — WHO Director-General | #1, #2
  • Protectionism is Rising. That’s a Problem for the World | #1 (accessed July 2021), #2
  • Data and the Financial Supply Chains are the First Casualties of the New Cold War | #1, #2
  • World’s Manufacturing Wonderlands Suffer as FDI Plummets | #1, #2
  • COVID Whac-a-Mole is Making Supply Chain Diversification More Challenging Than It Was Already| #1, #2
  • The US is Using the Cold War Playbook Because That’s Easy. After all, That’s What They Know. The West is NOT Ready for a Multi-polar World — China Ambassador to UN | #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
  • EU has Bolstered its Budget for Shortening Critical Supply Chains, Second Time in as Many Years | #1
  • Bloomberg Commodity Index Sees a Steep Rise to an All-time High | #1 (accessed July 2021), #2
  • As Capacity Expansion Falters in the East, Clamor for Local Supply Chains Becomes Louder | #1
  • Long Pandemic Doesn’t Bode Well for Globalization | #1, #2
  • Most Mid-Value Product Manufacturers Are Unable to Cope With High Freight Costs — Survey | #1
  • Corporate & Consumer Hoarding is Exacerbating Supply Shortages at Every Stage of the Supply Chains — Supply Chain Expert | #1
  • World Braces For Shortages Again as Long Supply Chains Get Bruised
  • Global Economic Recovery Falters as Uncertainty Rises | #1, #2, #3 (accessed July 2021)
  • Heightened Due Diligence is Forcing Companies to Drop Suppliers | #1
  • Germany Leads the EU’s Break with the US on Handling Sino-Russian Bloc. “We are Committed to a Multilateral World.” — EU Commissioner | #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6
  • Supply Throttling Has Forced Companies to Integrate Vertically. It’s Not Sustainable — Leading Supply Chain Expert | #1, #2
  • Trade Blocs Reorganize Along Subcontinental Borders to Build Scale & Security in Demand and Supply
  • Container Prices Remain High Despite Weak Demand as Maritime Access Tax Surges
  • Procurement Cartels are Securing Supplies at Cost as More Countries ‘Friend-shore’ Critical Supply Chains | #1
  • Supply Chains Eye Hyper Segmentation to Balance Consumer Needs and Geopolitics | #1
  • Consumers Turn to Local, DIY Solutions as Brands Fail to Allay Shortages
  • Low-cost Automation Sparks Re-shoring Boom as Cartels Assure Resource Supply
  • African Union Raises Continental Ownership Requirement in Resource Firms to a Record 80%
  • Subsidies and Tariffs Are at An All-time High
  • For international supply chains to thrive, they need to become geopolitically Non Aligned — Secretary-General, NAM | #1
  • Egypt Emerges as a Manufacturing Safe-haven for Warring Trade Blocs
  • Many MNCs are Moving to New Legal Structures to Limit Regional Liability
  • We Are Localizing Our Supply Chains. It Keeps The Shelves Stocked, Meets Divergent Regulations, Helps the Climate, and Gains Consumers’ Trust — CEO of a Major Manufacturing MNC.
  • Repair-Reuse-Recycle Economy Rises Amid Supply Shortages | #1, #2
  • FMCG Major is Offering a Guaranteed Lifetime Supply of Key Amenities in a Bid to Attract Consumers and Secure Demand
  • Brands Bet on ‘Lease-a-lifestyle’ Business Models as the Products-to-Services Shift Becomes Permanent
  • Berlin Unveils the World’s Largest Peer-to-Peer Goods Exchange & Delivery Platform

International Supply Chains: What Now?

  • Discuss this possible, medium-to-long-term future. How might it affect your business?
  • Consider the reasons why the future may unfold very differently from this provocation.
  • For example, for all the hoopla and pessimism around globalization and its ‘impending doom’, the world is NOT as globalized as we think it is to begin with.

Reality of Globalization
  • Also, consider that significant realignments in supply chains often have long lead times. E.g., Britain has been mulling a national battery hub at least since 2017, yet plans have been submitted only now in 2021. Then there’s the timeline for actually developing the hub.
  • Automation may help localization and re-shoring, but inequitable access to natural resources mars the world’s nations. You must account for that.
  • Inequitable resources are also why many supply chain folks and foreign policy people are now talking about ‘allied-shoring’ and ‘friend-shoring’ when discussing on-shoring. That is also why strategic partnerships are getting renewed emphasis.
  • De-emphasize predicting causes; emphasize countering effects — e.g., instead of predicting what exactly may make diversification difficult, it is more productive to simulate what might happen if you don’t diversify your supply.
  • Add more factors to the mix — e.g., we haven’t even mentioned global debt, economic policies, consumer sentiments, cybersecurity et cetera.
  • Imagine different futures (MUST DO) and build a portfolio of response strategies.
  • Read our post The Future ain’t what it used to be for more perspective.

Have a great week ahead!