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Why isn’t everything available everywhere? If you’ve ever enjoyed Tim Tams in Australia, you may wonder why you can’t get these incredible chocolaty treats in Frankfurt or London. Given the remarkable interconnectivity of global trade, the advanced technologies providing BCOs and exporters accurate and timely visibility throughout their supply chains, it may be a surprise when we realize that we don’t have access to a wider, more global variety of finished goods.
"There’s a whole lot of everywhere in just about everything"
To answer the question, it’s important to start with a basic truth: there’s a whole lot of everywhere in just about everything. For example, if you buy a bottle of orange juice in London, there’s a good chance the glass for that bottle came from China, the label from North America, and the orange flavoring from Italy (and so on). The smartphone in your pocket likely includes semiconductors and components that have circumnavigated the globe many times over before landing in your hand.
DP World helps customers realise incredible visibility across their supply chain, as tools like high bay storage and autonomous port cranes significantly enhance efficiency at critical junction points of global trade.
So, why can’t we have Tim Tams in London? What are the key hurdles that deny certain goods the same sort of widespread distribution that’s available to others? The short answer: data.
Data helps BCOs and exporters to better predict the lucrative nuances of global demand
Which goods are available where, is a function of that most foundational of factors: supply and demand. The global supply chain is very good at moving goods from the point of production to areas where there are large confirmed orders – or where demand is so robust that buyers can stake tens of millions of dollars through Purchase Orders that are often placed months before the first pallet hits the road, rails or sea.
This sort of verifiable need applies incredibly well to shipping raw goods for manufacturing, where the scale of mass production justifies transporting 40-foot containers around the world. This system also works very well for finished goods that sell in high volume or at a high value. A simple walk through the fruit aisle in Winter can drive that point home better than this blog ever could.
"While there may be robust demand for a niche item, validating that demand can prove difficult"
But as we move away from commodities and into more niche or specialty items, the business case for finished goods becomes more difficult. While there may be robust demand for a niche item, validating that demand in a way that enables players throughout the supply chain to make major bets months in advance can prove difficult.
That is to say, it’s not just a matter of bringing Tim Tams to Europe. It’s a matter of getting thousands of retailers, dozens of distributors, an importer, forwarder and manufacturer to collectively align on a business case worth forecasting millions of pounds in cashflow around upwards of a year in advance. With the right data, information on units per item per week of specialty chocolate across the UK can combine with freight rates and optimal distribution routes to give a new product the strongest chance of success.
As entrepreneurs and innovators reach deeper into niche opportunities around the world, we work towards a future where data, from consumer demand, freight and commodities, can become increasingly interconnected. At DP World, we are proud to be part of helping business owners across the global supply chain realise more value than ever before, bringing the world ever closer - one opportunity at a time.