The current overland shipping environment:
In returning to the diametrically opposed viewpoints of the world, the logistician is at the mercy of reality in that regardless of how technologically and globally ‘flattened’ the business environment may appear, there exists significant barriers when moving products overland and oversea.
This is to say that while borders ought to grow more porous and forgiving in this digital era, there are still politically- and historically-driven barriers that can leave shipments of food, perishable goods, and high-value items stranded for days.
One need look no further than Brexit for an example of the former or the case of the Balkans with regard to the latter.
Taken still further, and with politics and historical leanings aside, the losses on the sudden and confusing implementation of physical border crossings, bill of lading checks, and driver downtime is utterly staggering.
Trucks often need to wait between seven and 48 hours when trying to make deliveries in the former Yugoslavia, which amounts to a loss of €800B alongside the opportunity to grow the region’s economy by 3.84 per cent by 2022.
Sub-Saharan Africa, of course, suffers from far worse delays and could benefit even more so by implementing a less fragmented customs and border crossing system, especially on account of their being the likely recipient of investment coming from the new Silk Road.
This return to the historic East-West crossing over Central Asia, now known as the Belt and Road Initiative, can only be realized with fewer technologically, economic, and political barriers.