The Center for Global Business presented the third installment in an ongoing series of webinars by the MAPIT Alliance, “You Can’t Travel, But Your Products Can: Shipping Logistics During a Pandemic.” Building on the previous webinars focused on website globalization and digital marketing strategies, the third webinar was designed to inform companies of the challenges experienced with exporting due to COVID-19 disruptions and how to overcome them.
The webinar featured insights from Lee Connor, president & CEO of John S. Connor Inc., Rick Powers, director of sales & marketing at the Maryland Department of Transportation Port Administration, Philip Grove, international sales manager at Ellicott Dredges, Colleen Fisher, director of the Baltimore Export Assistance Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Jessica Reynolds, senior director at the Maryland Department of Commerce. Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of the Center for Global Business at Maryland Smith, moderated the discussion. As the final step in the “Pathway to Exporting Cycle'', a tool developed by MAPIT, details step-by-step the different stages of a company’s ability to export, this webinar’s content is the final step in the cycle once shipping capabilities are established.
Experts provided an overview of what has continued to come in and out of the Baltimore port, challenges and solutions to shipping, and Dredges’ experience during the pandemic. Powers, Connor, and Grove agreed that conditions for exporting are fluid and ports around the world are adapting to the pandemic by implementing safety precautions although all functions are not yet available, such as cruises. However, business can continue.
“Keep your business going, keep your sales process in motion, stay connected with your customers, especially your international customers who are so relationship-focused. They want to hear from you, they want to know you are doing well, and they want to know that business goes on as usual” said Grove.
Companies were encouraged to adapt by managing expectations, maintaining open lines of communication with their customers, conducting virtual factory tours, being diligent about financing and payments, and being informed of port statuses and customs delays.
Fisher and Reynolds continued the presentation by sharing resources available to Maryland companies designed to support their global operations. Resources included trade counseling, due diligence reviews, and funding opportunities from the ExportMD Grant provided by the Maryland Department of Commerce to name a few.
Bellinger concluded the conversation by presenting information on the Global Marketing Virtual Internship program and the Maryland Global Export Consulting program, both offered by the Center for Global Business. These two unique programs provide direct access to talented undergraduate or graduate students at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and resources to companies in Maryland with global operations.
The MAPIT Alliance will present the next webinar in the series on June 16, 2020, from 11 a.m. to Noon. Registration will be available shortly on the center’s website.
The MAPIT Alliance is a partnership of Maryland Smith’s Center for Global Business, Maryland-D.C. District Export Council, the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of International Investment and Trade, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Baltimore.
This event was sponsored in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
— By Santiago Luna, coordinator, Center for Global Business