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How a small business is classified and shipping challenges they face

An editorial by Fred Baehner, IBNewsmag publisher

The SBA classifies as a small business one having fewer than 500 employees. In the real world this should be classified as a large business.

The EU has a much more realistic way of defining a small business. In a 2012 joint US-EU Workshop on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Washington, DC, I attended, its Director for Enterprise and Industry and SME envoy defined a small business as having 50 or fewer employees, and a mid-sized company as having 250 or fewer employees.

However you define them, small businesses are the engines of economic growth and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic, yet as international traders they face inordinate challenges during this current supply chain crisis.

  1. Unlike many large companies with their own fleets of vessels, small companies rely on finding and gaining space in containers owned by major container lines. In this current atmosphere of container shortages and port delays, it prevents speedy deliveries if containers can even be found and booked.

  2. If small companies choose to ship via air freight, they again compete for space and bookings with large companies. In fact, many large companies operate air fleets of their own to avoid congestion and delays.

  3. When it comes to trucking across country, small companies face more delays due to a shortage of truck drivers and higher fuel costs. Until now shippers have turned to rail to bring in their freight, but with rail congestion in Chicago, more are looking to trucks to move their freight.

  4. All of this means that small companies must stock up on inventories and raise prices to their customers to stay alive - something that large companies can sometimes mitigate with their large staffs of experienced production and shipping people, such as CLAAS of America, covered in this issue of IBNewsmag.

These are just a few of the challenges small companies face in shipping their goods and receiving parts and components so urgently needed for their product manufacture.

Agree or disagree?

If you have an opinion on this subject, we would love to hear from you.


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