5 top findings of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 report

5 top findings of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 report

The DHL Export Barometer is an annual report compiled to provide insights about the export business and identify emerging industry trends in Australia. Launched 2003, it produces research specific to Australian exporters, by shedding light on the issues influencing export businesses and highlighting significant shifts within the exportation industry.

Results of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 reveal a strong recovery in Australian exports this year. A majority of Australian businesses are positive that the global export market will continue to recover next year.

More than 1,400 businesses from the DHL Express and the Export Council of Australia databases were surveyed by ACA Research in September 2021. These businesses – located across the country from New South Wales to Tasmania to Western Australia – provide an accurate representation of Australia’s exportation industry sentiments and insights for 2022.


  1. Businesses reveal an optimistic outlook for 2022

Last year, COVID-19 battered Australia’s export industry, with 47% of exporters believing that export revenue was unlikely to increase in the following months – the lowest since the survey was first conducted 18 years ago. However, as Australian businesses project into the new year, they are positive that the export logistics industry is on the road to recovery. 59% are optimistic that by the end of 2022, export revenue will return to pre-pandemic levels. This is signalled by:

  • An increase in customer demand
  • Sales and marketing ventures
  • Launch of new products and services
  • Hiring of new employees
  • Wage increases

“Australian businesses have remained steadfast, and it is positive to see more businesses in 2021 reporting growth and 69% expecting further increases in 2022,” Gary Edstein, CEO and Senior Vice President, DHL Express Australia, summarises.


  1. Impact of COVID-19 on export revenue lessens

Generally, businesses have reported to have done better in 2021 than during the height of the pandemic last year – with 17% more businesses enjoying growth in export orders and a third, an increase in revenue.

COVID-19 continued to affect the performance of businesses, with export orders and revenue numbers still less than what it was pre-pandemic. Although this is so, the proportion of businesses reporting a decline due to the pandemic was less this year than it was in 2020 (48% in 2021, compared to 57% in 2020).


  1. Export challenges for businesses remain due to COVID-19

Corporations continue to face an uphill battle, needing to deal with problems that have arisen due to COVID-19 – making recovery complex and difficult. These were attributed to an increase in freight cost (65%), decreased supply of products or raw materials (43%) and international travel restrictions (43%).


  1. More businesses focus on exporting to North America

On the whole this year, businesses were more judicious in their world trade – choosing to target fewer foreign markets for their export activities. The most popular export market was New Zealand, targeted by 58% of businesses, followed by North America, Europe and the UK.

Although New Zealand remains the most common export destination, more companies chose North America as their main export destination this year, with 27% of businesses prioritising the continent, compared to New Zealand’s 25%. This knocks New Zealand off the top spot, a position they have held for several years.


  1. More exporters use e-commerce to generate orders

COVID-19 has also caused major shifts in working arrangements and lifestyle choices in 2021. Remote work and increased online shopping has resulted in 82% of export businesses incorporating e-commerce solutions to shore up their sales orders. This is a significant increase of 8% from the previous year.

Channelling efforts into innovative strategies to increase brand awareness or enhance the customer journey has proven to be rewarding. In 2021, enterprises that engaged in novel tactics like these reported a growth in revenue. A significant proportion of Australian export firms continue to prioritise investing in digital efforts, with 40% of businesses doing so in online marketing and 34% in website design.


A promising 2022 for Australian export businesses

Although the pandemic’s effects are still felt as businesses continue to grapple with the aftermath, many are optimistic that the global export market is set to grow next year. With the support of a robust export logistics network, businesses can look forward to steady recovery and growth in 2022. View the full DHL Export Barometer 2021 report online.

Exporters views sought on Export Control Rules 2021

Exporters views sought on Export Control Rules 2021

Public consultation is now open on proposed amendments to the Export Control Rules 2021.

Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, David Hazlehurst said the consultation was part of a six-month review into the new legal framework for agricultural exports.

“Earlier this year we introduced a new legal system for agricultural exports, the Export Control Act 2020 and the Export Control Rules 2021,” Mr Hazlehurst said.

“We’ve reviewed the rules to make sure everything is working as intended, and now we’re considering some refinements.

“Most of the proposed changes are minor, with some more substantial amendments to the rules for Meat and Plant exports.

“We want to modernise our export regulation, making it easier for exporters to comply, while protecting Australia’s reputation as a world leader in trade and continuing to comply with importing country requirements.

“And the best way we can achieve this is through feedback from the frontline.

“If you’re a farmer, primary producer, an exporter, or someone who works in agricultural exports, we want to hear from you.”

You can find out more about these changes and provide feedback by visiting the department’s Have Your Say platform. Consultation closes on 30 November 2021.

Fast Facts

  • The new legal framework for agricultural exports, the Export Control Act 2020 and the Export Control Rules 2021 (the Rules) began on 28 March 2021.
  • Amendments are proposed to the rules for meat, wild game, poultry, rabbit and ratite, plant, organic goods and animals.
  • The changes to the Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2021 will give effect to an approach agreed with industry where meat inspection activities will be delivered by Food Safety Meat Assessors only where it is required by an importing country.
  • The changes to the Export Control (Plant and Plant Products) Rules 2021 will improve regulatory arrangements for inspecting vessels exporting Australian grain.
  • No amendments are proposed to the rules for eggs, fish, milk, wood and miscellaneous.

Call for submissions for the Australia-Singapore Green Economy Agreement 

Call for submissions for the Australia-Singapore Green Economy Agreement 

On 10 June 2021, Prime Minister Morrison and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee agreed to explore a Green Economy Agreement (GEA) between the two countries. The GEA would facilitate trade and investment in environmental goods and services, strengthen environmental governance, and contribute efforts to build global capacity to address climate change.

The GEA has the potential to unlock exciting new opportunities for Australia’s clean energy export sector and to enhance investment and trade in environmental goods and services.  It can help build new capacities to address climate change, whilst supporting economic growth and job creation in green sectors.  The GEA will support our transition to a new energy economy and drive new investments, including in hydrogen.

Australia and Singapore are like-minded countries that strongly support a rules-based system in promoting open markets and free trade, which continue to be critical at a time of increasing economic uncertainty. We envisage that the GEA will be practical, ambitious, and innovative, reduce barriers to trade and enable technologies to catalyse business and commercial opportunities.

During the 12th meeting of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee  on 27 August 2021, Ministers agreed to establish a Joint GEA Working Group with a view to launching formal GEA negotiations by 1 October 2021. Negotiations between Australia and Singapore on the GEA commenced on 22 September 2021.

Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong met on 11 October 2021 to take stock of negotiations on the GEA. They released a joint Vision Statement which outlines a shared ambition for the GEA.

The GEA was promoted at the Australian pavilion at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.


To assist the Australian Government in negotiations with Singapore on the GEA, DFAT would be interested to hear from stakeholders including industry organisations, businesses and community organisations. They will be undertaking targeted consultations but also welcome written submissions from any interested stakeholders — which can be sent to AustSingGEA@dfat.gov.au.

In particular they would be interested to hear from you regarding:

  • How a GEA could boost Australian two-way trade and investment in clean energy, and environmental goods and services exports.
  • Any trade and investment barriers (especially Non-Tariff Barriers) that are impacting the ability to undertake trade of environmental goods and services with Singapore.
  • Any suggested changes to, or opportunities for, policy or regulatory settings that could encourage improved collaboration in the clean energy, and green economy sectors.
  • How a GEA with Singapore could assist Australia’s low emissions technology pathway including for priority technologies (clean hydrogen, low emissions steel and aluminium, energy storage, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon measurement), and in enabling technologies and associated services.
  • Opportunities and challenges to access, or improve access, to green or sustainable finance, or to identify and advance finance options and investor partnerships with Singapore.
  • Opportunities and challenges in advancing cooperation on voluntary carbon markets with Singapore and for the South East Asian region.

Submissions will be treated as public and may be published on this website, unless the author specifically requests that the submission, or part thereof, be handled in confidence.

The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2021.

Exporting tyres? You are going to need a licence

Exporting tyres? You are going to need a licence

Australia’s ban on the export of whole baled waste tyres begins on 1 December and exporters requiring a licence to continue to export tyres overseas are encouraged to apply now.

From December 1, the export of waste tyres is banned except for:

  • tyres that have been processed into crumbs, buffings, granules or shreds
  • tyres that have been processed into fuel
  • tyres exported for re-treading
  • tyres that will be re-used on vehicles overseas.

Acting Deputy Secretary, Environment Reforms, James Tregurtha, said that these types of tyres can be exported, but only when exporters are able to satisfy the requirements of the new regulation.

“The Department does have strict criteria that apply to every export licence.

“When tyres are exported for re-treading or reuse, suppliers must have evidence of a commercial relationship with an importer or with a verified re-treading facility.

“All exporters must also pass a fit and proper person test and declare each consignment to the Department and Australian Border Force,” Mr Tregurtha said.

Australia’s waste export ban is world-leading with Australia the only country to have banned the export of its unprocessed waste.

From 1 December whole-baled tyres will no longer be able to be exported from Australia.

Australia has already banned the export of unprocessed glass and mixed plastics.

The ban on tyres starts on December 1, with unprocessed single polymer plastics to be banned from 1 July 2022; and paper and cardboard banned from 1 July 2024.

Exporters wishing to apply for a licence should go to https://rawr.awe.gov.au/

Does your business need finance to diversify in a changing world?

Does your business need finance to diversify in a changing world?

As the Government’s export credit agency, Export Finance Australia supports Australian businesses by providing a range of financial solutions to exporters and businesses that are part of an export-related supply chain.

Through loans, bonds and guarantees, Export Finance Australia plays an integral role in supporting Australian businesses to expand into new markets when finance from private financiers is unavailable.

Facing market challenges and disruptions in the past 19 months, many exporters have sought to diversify into new markets. Whether your business is looking to adapt to a changing market, pivot to seize new opportunities or grow internationally, Export Finance Australia’s experienced team is available to support businesses to diversify in a changing world.

They could support your business to diversify with:

  • Working Capital Support – To finance against supplier invoices or international purchase orders
  • Capital investment – To purchase new equipment and expand your export operations
  • International expansion – To establish or grow your business operations internationally
  • Online Growth – To invest in e-commerce and grow your sales to international customers

To discuss your finance needs and the options available, please get in touch at 1800 093 724 or visit exportfinance.gov.au/diversify for more information.