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Cultural connections may be driving FCL volumes and trade globally – new insights

A rise in expat population settling in almost all parts of the world is seen as a growing segment driving global C2C (Customer to Customer) trade providing opportunities for community-based service providers as per Ti insights, creating a more connected world.

As per Ti, India, Nigeria, and Mexico are the three largest expat groups worldwide, with 17.5 million, 17 million, and 11.8 million expats respectively.

This trend is said to be prevalent in some of the most diverse economies in the world, such as the UK, USA, and France, and global cities such as Dubai and Doha.

The increased and improved levels of connectivity via websites, and messenger apps allow modern multicultural communities to be better connected to their homeland allowing the proliferation of purchase of goods by expats either directly or through a friend/family member abroad.

Community-driven global trade

The Ti report indicates that the United Kingdom is a notable example of this trend and uses the example of the Caribbean community in the UK, which accounts for around 1.1 million individuals as of 2021.

It has been reported that the Caribbean community has a long tradition of sending ‘Barrels’ back to families who remain on the islands.

These Barrels which are typically 50-220 liter plastic drums are reportedly filled to the limit with goods and presents for the families back home including clothes, food, and items with a strong sell-on value back in the homeland.

Another example highlighted is the 1.6 million+ Pakistani nationals in the UK who have created a strong individual trading trend between the two countries contributing notably to around $2.1bn of Pakistani Exports to the UK in 2021 forecasted to double by 2025.

This is seen as strong evidence of trade relationships being driven by individuals and not just by businesses and also the fact that these nouveau cultural connections around the world are driving up FCL volumes.

The report goes on to state that the WEF (World Economic Forum) has identified used car exports to Africa as the opportunity of the decade as African expats living in Europe often ship used cars to their family members for them to either use or sell it on whole or in parts.

Used car businesses require full containers and a full scope of work within the broader shipping and freight industry and are seen as a growing source of demand between Europe and West Africa.

As per Ti, global export of used cars increased from 3.4 million to nearly 5 million between 2015 and 2019 with the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea being the largest exporters globally.

Expat C2C trade increasing

While global B2B (Business to Business) trade appears to be dragging a big, a new age of C2C trade may be emerging, thanks to the increasing number of diasporas scattered around the world and digital commerce that keeps people connected to their families and personal enterprises in their home countries.

The influence of C2C trade is growing and is likely to have a significant impact on fostering valuable trade relationships. All participants in global trade will do well to identify and take advantage of this trend.

Participants should be willing to adjust and comprehend the needs and wants of these communities since this can provide significant opportunities for community-based businesses, such as logistics providers, truckers, etc., enabling the next generation to maintain their cultural ties.


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