How upheaval in the world trade landscape may be a win for Australia

World trade

By Cate Hull

Four years ago, Martyn Hann and I founded FreightExchange, wanting to bring our knowledge and expertise in technology, data analytics to build a platform to drive efficiences in freight and make it easier for companies to engage in world trade.

The world’s trade landscape was relatively stable – at least as stable as it has ever been.

In 2016, the world started to change. Donald Trump, and other world leaders are changing the paradigm when it comes to international trade. Some long-held trading relationships are changing. That may be an opportunity for Australia.

We are closely watching the rising trade war between the United States and China with trade skirmishes breaking out across the globe.

We have been planning an expansion into Southeast Asia with specific interest in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The two unrelated events may have found a nexus. This planned expansion comes at a time when free trade discussions are underway between Australia, New Zealand and the European Union (EU). The EU has made it clear that new markets are a priority.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said new free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand would be “a valuable entry point into the wider Asia-Pacific region.”

Agreements with Australia and New Zealand would put European exporters on a more competitive footing with those from countries in the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is currently at the ratification stage.

Australia is pursuing an extensive free trade agenda, including the recently negotiated CPTPP; associate member status with the Pacific Alliance; and a planned Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six FTA partners.

Any of these agreements could help Australia and our company extend our business footprint.
Our freight management solution solves supply chain challenges and dramatically reduces freight costs. Our solution will work in Southeast Asia as well as it works in Australia.

Our FreightDesk platform automates the movement of goods. With FreightDesk, you can connect orders, inventory, warehouses and carriers to move freight seamlessly. With so many moving parts, connectivity is the key. We are like Uber for logistics but coordinating supply chain management is much more complicated than finding a lift for a single passenger.

Cate Hull is the CEO of FreightExchange, a Sydney-based logistics and freight management company.