October 10, 2022

Untangling the Supply Chain

The Center for Global Business Presents Webinar Hosted by National Business Leaders with International Expertise

Anyone who knows anything about supply chain management knows one thing: it is “very” complicated. There are many moving parts, and with companies pushing efficiency in order to drive down costs, unexpected disruptions and changes in policy can cause large impacts all the way down the supply chain.

The National Association of District Export Councils (NADEC) hosted a webinar last month, Untangling the Supply Chain. It’s a bird’s eye view of the current situation, its challenges, and the way forward. The webinar is part of the organization’s monthly webinar series to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of exports to the U.S. economy through education, legislative outreach, and engagement with District Export Councils and other relevant stakeholders.

Through a Centers for International Business Education (CIBE) network partnership with NADEC, the Center for Global Business presented this webinar as one of many resources made available to Maryland Smith students to engage with and learn from over 1,500 American policy makers, businesspeople, trade organizations, and educators.

The five panelists included: David F. Day, chairman of the Global Risk Mitigation Foundation and co-chair of the Trade Policy Committee; Peter Friedmann, founder of the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade and executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition; William Marshall, of Counsel at Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt; and David McLaughlin, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of RoadOne IntermodaLogistics. The panel was moderated by George Lauriat, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Transportation.

The webinar opened with news that out of the twelve total rail unions, two of the largest had still not come to an agreement and were anticipating going on strike. If these two groups of approximately 90,000 rail employees were to go on strike, the impact would be an approximately two billion dollar loss in economic activity. Friedman said, “Frankly if I’m the union, you got to have leverage, right? And uncertainty is your leverage, so we’ll see,” when asked about his thoughts on the potential rail strike. Since the webinar, the Biden Administration has brokered a tentative deal to avert a strike.

The webinar participants also talked about sanctions and the legal aspects of how import/exports are being used in foreign policy. The severity of sanctions against Russia was discussed. Day explained, “You gotta be very careful if you are selling or exporting to a third party as to who the end user really is,” as companies that sell to other companies who support the Russian war effort might be blacklisted.

The final part of the conversation discussed the shifts in supply chains in general. Day spoke about how the alternative markets to China included India and Vietnam, but the two countries connection to Russia makes them nonviable. Instead, the trade policy committee has been focusing south with the Southbound Trade Initiative.

The group talked about a potential trade route through the arctic, and the ideas that have caused tension between the U.S. and Canada. Canada wants to retain control over that part of the passageway, while the U.S. wants it declared international waters, encouraging more shipments to east coast ports which have a greater opportunity for growth compared to west coast ports.

This NADEC webinar was just one of the many webinars and workshops the Center for Global Business has made available to students and faculty through its partnerships. Last week, the center’s executive director Rebecca Bellinger spoke at Baltimore Innovation Week 2022 along with two other Maryland Smith faculty. Join the center for upcoming events at the BWI Business Partnership Summit on October 13 and the Global Business School Network’s Conference from November 7 through 9.

The partnership with NADEC is supported in part by a Title VI Centers for International Business Education grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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