Calling time on ‘just in time’

Biden’s executive order to reshape the supply chain might foster improved transatlantic trade relations with the European Union


As the US administration seeks to implement its ambitious infrastructure plans, it will need advanced machinery and industrial goods. Some stakeholders in the industry think this is the time to reshape the global supply chain.

In July 2021, President Biden signed an executive order with a view to reducing the US’s reliance on Asia. The order reshapes the supply chain, benefiting the EU-US trade partnership. It presents a significant opportunity for European companies to sell their innovative goods and services. 

As the fallout from the pandemic showed, extended supply chains create critical weaknesses, which buckle under pressure. Production problems and port shutdowns led to containers being stranded at one end of the trade lane. This caused major delays just as the economy was beginning to reopen. The Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal and caused enormous losses. The impact of the interruption was compounded by logistics that are often organised around the principle of “just in time”.

Lucio Miranda, founder and president of the US consultancy firm Export USA has been in the business for over 25 years. He argues that fundamental features of the supply chain require serious attention and rethinking. “We have always analysed the supply chain in the context of importing goods into a country. We tend to overlook another important challenge: How the supply chain affects companies exporting goods overseas.”

He cites the case of US farmers who are facing major obstacles in delivering their products to other countries. “There is a shortage of containers available for shipping, heavy delays in shipments, and it is becoming virtually impossible to book slots to ship products to certain destinations,” he says.  “Shipping companies are sending empty containers back to China, refilling them, and turning them back to the US. So it’s the shipping companies which are profiting from the sea freight – the cost of which has increased 5 times. This puts the farmers – who are under contract – at huge commercial risk”.  

Export USA is a New York based firm which supports EU companies selling and investing in the US. It has warehouses in Ohio and two European offices in Brussels and Rimini, Italy. Lucio Miranda, it’s founder and president, is proactive in seeking to engage with other stakeholders to promote his insights into the current problems afflicting the sector. He does this through his position of Italian representative to the Italian American Chamber of Commerce, in New York. 

In addition to regular engagement, Export USA organises numerous events fostering constructive debate. The main objective of their initiatives is to share views and knowledge about recent international developments that are pointing to the need for a modernised, sustainable, secure and redefined global supply chain. 

2nd March 2022