Happy Sunday: Trending Words for Your JIEB Holistic List

Posted on Oct 17, 2021. by NTI

That 'click: vrooming' sound you can hear in the background is either the re-start of that great British brand, Norton motor cycles, at their new plant in Solihill, having had a squeaky dalliance with BDO and their Administration in January 2020, or the firing up of China's coal-fired power stations as Mr Xi Jingping orders factories in his country to get a grip and make stuff the west needs, before the west realises that it needs hardly any of it. For the technically minded, anything that needs gluing - which is quite a lot of the stuff that hits containers leaving Chinese ports - requires a constant source of energy and the domino effect when you cut electricity directly affects glues in the production line, and the jigging needs to be reset, removing 20 to 30 per cent of productivity from the working day.

Who knew?

The Chinese government has taken a short-term pragmatic (does 'pragmatic' mean 'entirely selfish?') approach to addressing the energy shortfall by reverting to dirtier fuels, despite its longer-term promises to cut coal. But they have made up for it by cutting their airborne carbon emissions in deciding not to attend COP26 in Glasgow. “A lot of companies are going to go back to their backyard generators. Some of them are illegal. They will have to retrofit them, but that’s a lot faster than starting up a power plant,” said a businessman in southern China, who will presumably cut his personal emissions soon by occupying a very small and dark room in a freezing state detention centre.

If you are sitting the JIEB's exams in November another word you should try to insert into your holistic references is 'trendline', as it just sounds like something buzzy commercially pragmatic people would say. The context in this instance, to give you a lead, is that the trendline in energy and supply chain matters is clear (in that it is aiming towards cleaner fuels and faster supply lines), but there is a lot of volatility around this trendline. We'd give you a couple of holistic marks for a one and a half line sentence reference like that when referrring to supply chains and the cost of fuel.

Closer to home Dubai is the latest country to raise international eyebrows when discussing supply chain issues. On Friday (15 October) it said that it was suspending all imports into its airports for six days in order to clear a backlog of unprocessed cargo. This is just part of the wider problem in which almost 600 container vessels are stuck in one port or another around the globe waiting to be processed, causing a domino effect with schedules because they cannot be where they are supposed to be. The reason (apparently)? An increased demand for consumer products, massive disruption to schedules due to the extended pan ... blah, blah, blah and a worldwide shortage of dock workers who are presumably now:

(a)  becoming bus drivers
(b)  stuck somewhere because they can't locate fuel to get to work
(c)  waiting at home for a delivery from another country
(d)  on board an alien vessel being interrogated about how ridiculous the human species is

Freight costs have gone through the roof. The average global price of shipping a 40-foot container is now almost £8,000 - three times higher than it was at the beginning of 2021 and ten times pre-pandemic levels. This leads to another addition to the exam phrasebook for our eagle-eyed Joint Board candidates on 9 November. This latest crisis has called into question the value of 'just-in-time supply chains' and reintroduced arguments in favour of 'nearshoring', or moving production to closer locations, such as Coventry.

Boris Johnson, of right here in the UK, has the answer. If you talk to your nation's people in a positive, strident way, using words such as 'limerence' and 'floccinaucinihilipilification' it will energise them in such a way that something (surely) will turn up to get the handle turning again. It is the verbal equivalent of banging the TV on its side, or throwing your iPhone at the wall.

Kwasi Kwarteng is a new disciple of this approach and he has made 'a mild winter' the central plank of his policy to ensure people don't freeze this winter. This is almost the equivalent (but not quite) of saving hundreds of thousands of British pigs' lives by granting visas to 800 foreign butchers ... who will enter our country to kill them.

Even in the NTI newsroom we don't need to make this stuff up.

Happy Sunday.

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