Efforts to streamline trade processes must be redoubled to meet changing global challenges

Efforts to streamline trade processes must be redoubled to meet changing global challenges

The Australian government has strengthened its commitment to streamlining trade with the recent Federal Budget announcement committing a further $267 million to the Simplified Trade System.

The quantum of Australian exports is large and growing. But it hides the on-the-ground reality of Australia’s 57,000 exporters. For many of them, the experience of exporting is often daunting.

At present, the regulations that impact cross-border goods are administered by a multitude of Commonwealth government agencies. Consequently, exporters have to meet a multitude of requirements, including the same trade data from different agencies.

Our exporting counterparts across the OECD take an average of just four hours to complete documentations for a trade transaction, while Australian exporters slog away for seven.

The World Bank reports that we also face much higher compliance costs. Here in Australia, it costs $354 (2019) to prepare a set of shipping documents, 86% higher than the costs of our OECD counterparts.

We back ourselves to take on the world, but we’re ranked 106th when it comes to getting our goods across Australia’s borders.

This year’s budget announcements suggest an amplification of efforts to create a seamless, efficient modern trade system. This digitalisation can bring Australian trade up to the standards already enjoyed by exporters in hundreds of other countries.

NZIER, a well-respected economic think-tank, suggests that digitalisation of cross-border trade compliance has the potential to fundamentally change how trade is conducted. They estimate that the benefits for economies in the Asia-Pacific region would be between US$8–17 billion over ten years.

Digital trade facilitation is predicted to offer the following benefits:

  • Productivity gains – These include ‘one off’ productivity gains from moving away from paper-based systems, ongoing benefits as resources shift from skilled labour-intensive paper systems to more productive activities, and improved ability to innovate.
  • Connectivity gains – Increased ability to trade as barriers are broken down, allowing more trade in old products in old markets, old products in new markets, and new products in new markets.
  • Predictive gains – Digital trade generates a large amount of new product-specific data at a low cost, which can be used to predict product-specific demand and fluctuation in demand, greatly increasing the ability of suppliers to anticipate demand.
  • Visibility and transparency gains – All permissioned parties within the value chain can access one single set of documents (data). This avoids confusion on what trade terms parties agreed upon and clarifies the obligations of each of the parties.
  • Inclusiveness gains – By making it easier to trade, trade barriers are reduced especially for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). This allows more MSMEs to be involved in trade and share in the potential benefits relative to trading exclusively on the domestic market. It may also improve perceptions of trade more generally.

The prospects for Australia having a ‘tell us once’ trade system is extremely encouraging. There are existing technologies out there that can turn this into reality.

TradeWindow, a software company working with 400 leading exporters and freight forwarders in Australasia, has made significant gains in connecting the commercial, logistics, finance and government data silos present in all global supply chains…

The TradeWindow Cube platform has allowed interoperability between the software platforms used by port authorities, ocean carriers, banks, insurance companies and border agencies.

This takes exporters a step closer to realising the vision of end-to-end digital trade facilitation where all parties across the supply chain can work from a single source of truth.

TradeWindow is part of a new generation of solutions, backed by blockchain. It delivers ‘trust’ between parties through a highly secure, encrypted digital platform. This enables trade parties to share data because it is interoperable with other computer systems across the trade ecosystem.  Sharing data from source reduces duplication of effort, minimises errors, streamlines compliance, supports product provenance and accelerates trade.

TradeWindow believes that new technology is only part of the equation to deliver the ‘joined up’ solutions envisaged by the Simplified Trade Taskforce. The company’s Chief Executive Officer AJ Smith says we also need ongoing change management.

“Our trade and logistics sectors are often too busy with the task at hand to investigate ways improve or speed up their processes. Many players remain hooked on legacy systems and a mixed bag of spreadsheets and emails. So, in this regard, it’s also pleasing to see the Federal Government invest in programmes supporting digital literacy and uptake in Australia’s SME segment,” Mr Smith says.

Recent trade agreements include high-level provisions to enable digital trade. However, these provisions often leave the question of ‘how’ this will occur. Two obvious ‘work on’ areas are the need to harmonise data standards between trading nations and the urgent need for the Australian government to adopt two further tenets of the UN Model law underpinning future paperless trade.

Like many other APEC economies, Australia has ratified the model law for Electronic Commerce but has yet to do so for Electronic Signatures and Electronic Transferable Records. This is the trade equivalent of running a marathon with your shoelaces tied together.

Recent events such as Covid 19, geopolitical tensions and conflict in Ukraine have revealed a world where we can no longer take stability and prosperity for granted. Australia needs to find new ways to protect and extend its strategic advantages. Bold steps to simplify the trade system will not just make life better for Australia’s 57,000 exporters, and 380,000 importers – it will enhance Australia’s international competitiveness and help meet gaps in global demand.

About TradeWindow

TradeWindow is an NZX-listed software company that provides digital solutions for exporters, importers, freight forwarders, and customs brokers to drive productivity, increase connectivity, and enhance visibility. TradeWindow’s software solutions integrate to form a cohesive digital trade platform that enables customers to more efficiently run their back-end operations, share information and securely collaborate with a global supply chain made up of customers, ports, terminals, shipping lines, banks, insurance companies, and government authorities.


A Sydney Start-Up’s journey to global markets

A Sydney Start-Up’s journey to global markets

A homegrown Sydney SME has taken a popular lifestyle brand from local street market beginnings to retail across international markets.

From humble beginnings at an artisanal street market in 2005, Papinelle – an ethically driven Sydney sleepwear start-up – is now a popular fashion and lifestyle brand in Australia and beyond. Founder and CEO Renae James started Papinelle straight out of university at the Paddington Markets in Sydney.

“I specialised in print design and received amazing feedback early on,” shares Renae. “Two years later I opened the Papinelle store on Oxford Street in Sydney where it still proudly stands.”

Dare to dream

Following a successful decade-long journey building the brand in Australia with a series of floral feminine sleepwear, Papinelle decided to test the waters in the U.S. in 2015. Renae noticed that the demand from that market was unexpectedly strong.

“We saw a positive response from new international markets. There was an incredible appetite for loungewear and sleepwear that was not only ethically-produced, but also comfortable and fashionable,” said Renae.

This led Papinelle to open a dedicated Direct to Customer (D2C) website for the U.S.  Selecting a reliable logistics partner is one of the most important decisions an SME has to make –  a vital part of the business’ success.  Papinelle selected FedEx as we were one of the most recognizable household names in that market.

Renae notes that business owners expanding internationally face a new set of rewards and challenges. This is especially true as the logistics landscape becomes increasingly complex, and businesses must find shipping solutions that meet time and safety expectations of international customers – who want to receive their orders quickly and without disruption.

“Papinelle was able to penetrate the U.S. market thanks to the FedEx network, which has particularly strong reach in North America. The ability to deliver to  all zip codes in the U.S. means FedEx can ensure Papinelle’s customers receive their packages in the least amount of time,” said Renae.

Loungewear is the new workwear

Adding to the brand’s success more recently, the global shift to remote work across many industries acted as a tailwind for Papinelle, bringing with it a large opportunity for further growth domestically and globally.

Loungewear sales have grown multi-fold since 2020. In 2021, the global loungewear market is estimated to generate 37.7 billion U.S. dollars in retail sales.

With a global surge in demand for loungewear that is both fashionable and comfortable, Papinelle continues to rely on FedEx to ensure its customers receive their orders seamlessly and efficiently.

Dreams do come true

During the early stages of entering new markets, undisrupted cross border reach is crucial for growing businesses. The extensive network FedEx has helps Papinelle maintain business continuity and achieve seamless delivery experiences across its brick and mortar and online stores.

According to Renae, maintaining desirable customer experience while managing increasing volumes is an important consideration for small business owners operating across international markets.

“Customers expect a better experience than ever when shopping with you, including after they have gone through checkout. The delivery is as much a part of the customer’s experience of your brand, as your digital platforms and shipping options are,” said Renae.

Renae said that access to FedEx® Delivery Manager  has allowed her to focus on running her business, leaving the logistics management to FedEx.

“I’ve found that FedEx® Delivery Manager offers two crucial advantages to our customers: proactive tracking and flexible delivery options,” said Renae. “My customers find it convenient to change their delivery address or specify a new delivery timeframe. They are happy about the visibility they have on their eagerly awaited packages from Papinelle. Overall, this leads to a good customer experience and gives our buyers more reasons to order again from us.”

Renae also notes that another potentially overwhelming aspect of international logistics is complex paperwork.

“We use FedEx® Electronic Trade Documents  which makes completing paperwork for shipping easy. It helps us easily upload our trade documents for clearance and also helps reduce printed copies. We’ve found that it has helped reduce backlogs and costs,” said Renae.

“Our logistics partnership with FedEx has really delivered value for our business and helped us ensure the best experience for our customers, end-to-end.”

As an ally for small and medium businesses, we remain committed to the growth of SMEs.  Enabling SMEs to compete and win in the dynamic e-commerce marketplace is crucial.  Delivering tailored solutions is part of helping small businesses thrive in an ever-changing world. For more information on these solutions, visit our e-commerce page here.

FedEx Express is one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. To learn more, please visit https://www.fedex.com/en-au/about.html



Visdon: Finding success during a global pandemic

Visdon: Finding success during a global pandemic

About Visdon

Founded in 2018, Visdon provides brain health supplements that are authentic, natural and made in Australia. Their journey started when a group of passionate researchers, pharmacists and health professionals, united in Sydney with a common cause to provide natural supplements to improve cognitive function and boost memory.

Since their formation, Visdon’s growth as a company has been rapid and aligned with an increasingly growing demand for brain support products globally. After starting out as a single warehouse in Sydney, the company has now expanded to Melbourne and Hong Kong, with a fully fledged Marketing and Sales team headquartered in Shanghai, China.

Furthermore, they have partnered with multiple countries for R&D, ensuring the production of world-class products whilst maintaining the highest consumer safety criteria. It is part of the company’s vision to increasingly invest in research and clinical trials for the development of brain health products that benefit humanity.

One of the company’s core values is to support the local Australian economy and help promote Australian-made products on a global level. As a result, Visdon has purposely partnered with manufacturers and researchers that are based in Australia.

Export focus and product distribution

Visdon’s products, such as Rebrain, are primarily focused towards middle aged and senior consumers, although new products are currently in development to also support brain health for pregnant women, adolescents and children.

Visdon has partnered with hundreds of distributors worldwide and has been featured on over 100 popular online platforms in China, such as JingDong (JD).

In Australia, Visdon enjoys broad coverage across major retail pharmacies and online eCommerce platforms. Their products are available in 68 local Australian pharmacies across NSW, VIC, SA, WA and QLD.

Visdon exports their products internationally with their core market focus on Mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea. Since the start of the 2021/2022 financial year, Visdon has exported over 20 different types of natural supplements to multiple overseas distributors. In addition, they are in the process of achieving market penetration in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Finding success during a global pandemic

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, it was a very challenging year for both businesses and consumers. The shutting of borders, pausing of international travel and the occurrence of multiple lockdowns, all contributed to an unprecedented disruption to normal life.

Despite these circumstances, Visdon overcame massive logistical and political challenges that impacted production, supply chain, and retail to successfully launch Rebrain, their flagship product in mid 2020.

The promotion and distribution hurdles brought upon by the pandemic were partly solved by an embracing of digital and eCommerce. As a result, the company partnered with distributors with a strong online presence and obtained listings on reputable eCommerce platforms.

The results have been satisfying for the company with sales revenue growing steadily since Rebrain was launched, corresponding with a target audience that is increasingly becoming more educated and aware of the importance of brain health and preventing the decline of cognitive function and memory loss.

The reception for Visdon has been exceedingly positive and it has won the following prestigious accolades.

– Rebrain won the 2021 NutraIngredients-Asia Award for Product of the Year: Botanical  

– The company won the 2021 Stevie Award for International Business Award

– One of their co-founders, Lara Tang, won the 2021 Stevie Award for Women in Business

To learn more about Visdon, visit their website or follow them on Social (Facebook: VisdonAustralia, Instagram: @visdonaustralia).

Featured member: C.T. Freight

Featured member: C.T. Freight

C.T. Freight Pty Ltd is 100% Australian owned company offering comprehensive freight forwarding and logistics solutions worldwide. With dedicated offices throughout Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore and the USA, along with an extensive network of partners worldwide, their services comprise of transport and distribution globally, no matter the size, weight, origin or destination.

Founded in 1981 by Clive Thomas (owner and CEO of the company), celebrating their 40th year in freight forwarding C.T. Freight has obtained accolades both internationally and domestically. They are the largest independent freight forwarder in Australia, and hold the number 1 IATA ranking for airfreight export from Australia.

C.T. Freight is known for the highest level of reliability, exceptional quality of service and superiority in expertise, through understanding of the requirements for each of our Australian and international customers. Being well established in the local market provides us with a major advantage. With substantial market position and direct, long-lasting contracts with airlines and shipping lines, this unique position has provided them with the ability to respond to specific market requirements and deliver tailored solutions, no matter the size of the customer.

Their range of services include:

  • General Goods Transport by Air/Sea/Truck/Rail
  • Perishable (cool room and freezer facilities)
  • Aviation/Pharmaceutical/Time Critical (24/7 coverage)
  • E-commerce/FBA/Express/Courier
  • Supply Chain Management/Warehousing/Distribution
  • Project Management/Aircraft or Vessel Charter
  • Customs Brokerage

All their Australian warehouses have state of the art cool room and freezer facilities and are bonded for both customs and quarantine. Their in-house brokerage team has extensive knowledge in all customs and bio-security regulations. With 24/7 availability and support, they can handle all customs clearances including perishable, pharmaceutical, AOG and special projects.

Working with government and regulatory bodies, C.T. Freight has been on the forefront of developments in the international freight forwarding industry. Collaborating with the paramount international IT solution provider and through development in digital integration, they strive to be an industry leader, actively working on new ways to improve our services.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a new set of challenges for international supply chains. During this time, C.T Freight have had to be agile and adjust in order to deal with the ever changing landscape of international transport. The Australian Government announced a support package for Australian exporters of perishable goods (International Freight Assistance Mechanism – IFAM) and they were selected as one of six freight forwarders to assist in the delivery of the package to exporters. They can assist with any complicated transportation solutions that have been hampered by the pandemic.

C.T. Freight is a reliable worldwide partner, offering a comprehensive range of freight forwarding solutions, and specialises in customising services to suit individual customer requirements.

A.H. Beard succeeds despite Covid-19

A.H. Beard succeeds despite Covid-19

In 2020, this family-owned Aussie exporter and ECA Member faced an unprecedented challenge. To overcome it and get through the COVID crisis, they decided to do things differently. Ultimately, this saved jobs with everyone banding together as a team to ensure the business could continue.

When Covid hit Australia, AH Beard sales were impacted and despite receiving 1M AUD jobkeeper assistance to help keep everyone on the books, things were tough. Different options were considered but staff showed their loyalty and commitment to the business, going to 4 days pw and taking a voluntary 20% pay cut.

And then something extraordinary happened. After a few weeks into the pay cut and with some staff working from home, sales went trough the roof. All the staff had to go back to 5 days, more staff had to be hired and extra shifts had to be added.

AH Beard made the decision to repay the Government as well as every single staff member was reimbursed their pay-cuts!

AH Beard says the staff accepting the cuts in days and salary helped them manage through the difficult times and they wanted to repay them.

Watch their story on The Project: https://lnkd.in/gQmrNij

Roborigger gears up for global growth with the opening of its new manufacturing facility by Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch

Roborigger gears up for global growth with the opening of its new manufacturing facility by Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch

Perth-based crane lifting and logistics automation company Roborigger celebrated a significant milestone with the opening of its new manufacturing facility in Wangara today. Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch officially opened the factory with Roborigger customers, shareholders, local WA suppliers, and stakeholders in attendance.

The facility will allow Roborigger to scale its manufacturing operations to meet the demand for the product that has now arisen in Europe, Japan and other overseas markets.

Roborigger units have been in operation in Australia since the first unit was used on the New WA Museum in Northbridge in 2018. Roborigger units are currently operating in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth and at several sites in the Pilbara. The company has also shipped units to Singapore, Japan, Dubai, Germany and New Zealand and continues to receive demand for additional units in these regions.

The WA government has been instrumental in assisting Roborigger maintain its development progress through the COVID-19 restrictions. This has helped fund Roborigger to have its units certified for use in Europe and to build sophisticated load test equipment needed for the manufacture in Perth using WA suppliers.

At the opening, Roborigger demonstrated new products and technology in development including a voice controlled operation system for Roborigger units and a novel data capture system that allows all load movements by Roboriggers or forklifts anywhere in the world to be automatically recorded and accessible on the web.

Roborigger Managing Director Derick Markwell stated that these developments will revolutionise the way information is made available for crane lifting and logistics management since it not only has the functionality we are familiar with for online parcel tracking but adds images, weight and location as well as information from the company’s commercial system.

“It means that wherever you are, you can find your load and see it when it was last moved without having to attach the expensive tracking devices that are currently used.” Markwell said.

Roborigger also announced that it had appointed JOTO Sangyo Co. Ltd as their agent in Japan and had entered into a cooperation agreement with JOTO and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., one of Japan’s largest construction conglomerates, to use the Roborigger system in its SQRIM fully precast concrete construction method for high rise buildings. Markwell commented that this is world leading technology equivalent to using driverless cars on roads. Japan is a unique environment where they have an aging population and shortage of construction workers as well as a passionate interest in automation and technology to improve their businesses.

“We are really pleased that we have been selected to be involved on this project.”

“We are now seeing Roborigger deployment picking up speed exponentially. We will have Roborigger working on Sydney and Auckland metro projects, mega projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a shipyard in Germany, building powerlines and handling loads in the Pilbara, on revolutionary high rise buildings in Japan and loading equipment onto supply boats for offshore drilling. It really is exciting to see the momentum we have gained.” Markwell said.

Hon Don Punch MLA, WA Innovation and ICT Minister said “Roborigger is key example of the outstanding innovative and entrepreneurial work that is occurring in WA, and the State Government is proud to have supported its development with funding through both the Local Capability Fund and the WA Innovator of the Year programs.”

“Congratulations to Derick and the entire Roborigger team on the official opening of your new Wangara factory today. It is a pleasure to see the wholly Western Australian innovation continuing to build their workforce locally from a wealth of WA talent and capability.”

This story was originally published by Roborigger.

Further information for the press: Ati Aziz, Marketing & Business Development, aaziz@roborigger.com.au