German lock strike wreaks havoc along major waterways
We talk so much about threats to the supply chain and once again, a perfect example has emerged in Germany in the form of a lock strike. For those not familiar with the term, a lock is a mechanism that lowers and raises boats between stretches of water of different levels on canals and rivers. This strike is being conducted by the lock worker’s union as they try to reach an agreement with the Federal Transport Ministry. Plans to cut the lock work force by 25% has angered many workers and the two sides are in negotiations regarding this and many other points. In the meantime, barges as well as cruise ships have been piling up at certain points on the main waterways, creating a logistical nightmare for many supply chain managers. Hopefully an agreement can be reached soon allowing normal supply chain operations to resume. Until then, cruises must be postponed or cancelled and barges have to wait-out the mayhem.
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Supply chain managers urged to be cautious in emerging markets
Earlier this week we blogged about how uncertainties can have lasting negative impacts on the supply chain, and that businesses need to take a proactive approach to guarding against the unknown. Gartner recently built up some compelling arguments supporting the penetration of emerging markets, but at the same time encouraged managers to be cautious as the risk of uncertainty can be overwhelming. Fragmented demand, continually changing rules regarding tax requirements as well as poorly developed transportation systems all create a heavy dose of risk supply chain managers must face when entering an emerging market. In the end, managers are encouraged to do their homework with regard to the target market and create an understanding for the product and service needs as they continue to expand their supply chain operations on a global scale.
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Trans-Atlantic trade agreement negotiations open amongst spying concerns
Last month we wrote about the breaking news concerning top US and European authorities discussing a trade agreement that would streamline regulations and reduce tariffs between Europe and the US. If passed, the trade agreement would be the largest in the world. This week, official negotiations began amongst tensions over the leaking of NSA documents which implicated the US in a spying scandal. The documents suggested that the US had been spying on many of the European nations involved in the talks for this trans-Atlantic pact. Last week, France proposed negotiations be further postponed until the US can clarify its involvement in the scandal. Despite the calls for postponement, talks this week began and are covering organizational topics and issues such as competition policy. It will be exciting to see if a deal can be reached despite the current tensions as such a pact will have significant impacts on the supply chain.
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Have a great weekend!