On the 30th of August, we will finally see you physically at Lindholmen Science Park for this year’s Transporteffektivitetsdagen, TREFF. One of the first items on the agenda will be a presentation by Cecilia Malmström, former EU minister. Cecilia will talk about trade, geopolitics and how the supply chains have been impacted in the last few years. August is far away – but learn more about Cecilia and her presentation now.
How has the trade sector and supply chains been impacted by the current geopolitical situation?
– Supply chains have been affected by the Trump trade wars, the pandemic and now Russia’s war on Ukraine and the sanctions. There has been a lack of some commodities - semi conductors, some metals and minerals and now of course the food crisis. Inflation and high energy prices are also threatening supply chains. The problems from the pandemic still remain to some extent, for instance hundreds of container ships are still blocked in Shanghai. Trade has become more geopolitical as companies need to take political considerations when they trade. We have the sanctions and the need to secure your supply chains and become more diverse, flexible and resilient. We also see protectionism growing in many parts of the world, which is worrying. In the US and in the European Union there are a lot of talks about friend shoring, trading only with like-minded, or strategic autonomy, focusing more on production and sourcing in Europe.
What have we learned from Covid-19 that makes supply chains and trade more agile to new situations?
– Most companies have adopted in a remarkable way and became rather quickly more flexible, innovative, and diverse. This is an important lesson. Most of the global trade functions very well but for a few vulnerable products there might need to be a more specific targeted policy.
How can we ensure a resilient international trade system in the future?
– We should not turn inwards but seek to improve the global rules and the multilateral systems. The challenges today, climate, health, food security, must be solved on an international level. Sadly, international organisations have been very weak but last week saw some positive developments at the World trade organisation (WTO) where ministers for the first time in many years could agree on some important common rules. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.
What do you think is the main benefit of finally meeting in person at TREFF?
– To be able to attend meetings live again after the pandemic is wonderful. In person, meetings are much more constructive and creative so I think it is excellent that TREFF is a physical meeting.
This year’s topic for TREFF is Smart freight transportation to support a resilient society. You will get new perspectives, insights and ideas of potential solutions where the role of logistics as part of the solution for a resilient and sustainable society will be highlighted!