Supply Chains Latest: Rotterdam's Port Braces for Brexit Chaos.
Preparations for a definitive Brexit in less than 30 days are in full swing in the Rotterdam area, home to Europe’s biggest port. Representatives from the port, customs and government were still handing out “Get ready for Brexit” flyers to truck drivers at a ferry terminal on Tuesday to let them know in eight different languages — such as Turkish and Polish — how their cargo can pass after Jan. 1. Dutch officials has been passing out the warning pamphlets for more than a year and even created a Muppet-looking monster to spread the word about avoiding trade logistical chaos when Britain actually Brexits.
“It’s really going to happen,” said State Secretary for Finance Alexandra van Huffelen while handing out brochures to passing truck drivers. “We once again are calling on companies to prepare properly.” The degree of disruption hinges on whether the U.K. and European Union can sign a trade deal, and negotiators are racing to strike one before the end of the week.
From the start of the new year, customs documents for goods through Rotterdam will need to be pre-announced digitally at the shortsea and ferry terminals through Portbase’s Port Community System. Otherwise the cargo can’t pass.
The port has set up a buffer zone where trucks without the right documents can park to avoid congestion as much as possible in January. “We currently see volumes passing through we have never seen before,” said Richard van Kleef from ferry operator DFDS. “Companies are Brexit stockpiling.” Each day about 2,500 trucks go from the Port of Rotterdam to the U.K.
About 12% of the cargo isn’t signed up to the system yet, said Iwan van der Wolf, CEO at Portbase. “Trucks have 24 hours to make the paperwork in order on the emergency parking space. If they don’t, they need to leave. It’s a hard system but it’s the only way.”
—Ruben Munsterman in Amsterdam
Factories from South Korea to Germany are powering along, ending the year in expansionary mode, providing vital support for economies as renewed virus restrictions in some countries take a toll on growth.
Today’s Must Reads
- Stayin’ alive | The Covid-19 pandemic was supposed to put the final nail in the coffin of globalization and prompt a retreat into a new era of protectionism. Instead, some are now calling the crisis the Great Accelerator.
- Allied front | President-elect Joe Biden told the New York Times he’d leave the phase-one trade deal with China in place while he conducts a full review of U.S. policy toward China in consultation with key allies. Meanwhile, the EU plans a sweeping proposal for transatlantic cooperation to repair relations soured by President Donald Trump.
- Battling Amazon | Walmart is adding another perk to its fledgling membership program — in a sign that it’s investing more to boost subscriptions during the crucial holiday season.
- Dry ice approval | Rules allowing the rapid shipment of Covid-19 vaccines by cargo aircraft have been approved by U.S. transportation regulators.
In the U.K., regulators green-lighted the first vaccines.
- Truck sharing | SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 is leading a £113.5 million investment round in a California-based startup seeking to change the way goods get trucked around the U.S.
- Rays of hope | America’s biggest solar manufacturer wants Biden to preserve the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported panels or add other measures to help compete against China.
- Low spark | As Tesla builds its first European car factory, in a patch of forest outside Berlin, Elon Musk has been on a charm offensive. But there’s one corner of the German economy where the lovefest feels more like a standoff: the powerful 2.3 million-member IG Metall labor union.
On the Bloomberg Terminal
- Recovery road | The vaccine cavalry, a new U.S. administration restoring stability to global trade and sufficient stimulus to nurse the world back to normality — all factors that Bloomberg Economics says should ensure that 2021 is the year when the world economy moves firmly onto the road to recovery.
- 2021 outlook | Freight transportation and logistics providers’ revenue and earnings prospects are bright heading into 2021, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, despite the pandemic’s impact on people and economies.
- Use the AHOY function to track global commodities trade flows.
- Click HERE for automated stories about supply chains.
- See BNEF for BloombergNEF’s analysis of clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities.
- Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts.
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— With assistance by Joost Akkermans