Monday, January 12, 2009

Risks and Rewards

(Bernie Hart — Gulf Shipper)

The top nine challenges in ’09 for global supply chains

Importers and exporters may face significant unexpected costs and increased disruptions in 2009 if they do not properly address challenges to their supply chains, sourcing strategies and the flow of working capital. Some of these are hangovers from 2008’s economic turbulence, while others are just starting to develop. But the outlook isn’t all bad. There also are some promising opportunities.

Below are nine trends that will challenge multinational businesses for at least the next 12 months…

New import challenges: The amended Lacey Act

The U.S. is now the first country in the world to prohibit the import, export, sale or trade in illegally harvested wood and wood products. An amendment to the 108-year-old Lacey Act will require detailed reporting (scientific name, quantity, value and country) of any plant matter incorporated into an imported product brought into the United States. This law broadly covers plants used in processing, no matter how miniscule the amount and no matter how far removed from the harvesting of the plant. The amendment could have significant consequences for U.S. importers who will be subject to new data reporting requirements. The specific scope of what items are covered under the amendment is still being defined, with Congress acting to reduce the burden on trade. For example, plant matter used in the creation of shipping labels and manuals may not have to be reported. The first phase of enforcement is expected to begin in April. Violations of the Lacey Act provisions are expected to be prosecuted through either civil or criminal enforcement actions.

Read the complete article here.