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Crossborder Trade and Transportation

The Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum 2016 (SCLF) held in Minneapolis, MN was a huge success.  Everybody had a chance to connect, share, and learn together throughout the three day event.  Jim Serstad, Managing Director, Asia, Tompkins International and Michael Zakkour, VP, China/Asia Pacific Practice, Tompkins International gave an extremely well received presentation on Crossborder Trade and Transportation.


Staring the presentation off with several famous quotes:

“A million dollars isn’t cool.  You know what’s cool?  A billion dollars.”
-Sean Parker to Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network”

“A billion dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?  $14 BILLION DOLLARS!”
-Jack Ma to Jeff Bezos

“Online shopping is dessert in the U.S., in China, it’s the main course.”
– Jack Ma

What exactly is crossborder eCommerce?  Crossborder eCommerce is: the cycle of marketing, selling / purchasing fulfillment / delivery of consumer products across borders, from anywhere to anywhere anytime.  It is not simply setting up an eCommerce sales channel to complement your operations in another market.  Some very successful models include:

  • Sell to foreign customer from your local site or platform – ship from your domestic DC (Amazon.com)
  • Sell to foreign customer and fulfill from local or tertiary country DC (Amazon.cn)
  • Set up foreign site or store on foreign platform(s) – ship from local DC (Tmall Global, JD Global)
  • Set up store on foreign platform(s) – ship in bulk to foreign country – store in local FTZ / DC – fulfill locally
  • Foreign seller offers goods on Amazon and eBay – fulfills from home country – or fulfills from local DC

The key players in crossborder trade and transportation are: 

  • Alibaba – China
  • Amazon – US, U.K., Germany
  • JD.com – China
  • eBay – US, Europe, Asia
  • Rocket – Southeast Asia
  • Mercadolibre – South America
  • Rakutan – Japan
  • Flipkart – India

The goal is to have the ability to sell from anywhere to anywhere with 2 – 4 day shipping. 


In regards to Asia specifically there are four main challenges that have hindered the growth of the otherwise very viable SE Asia market, language, customs, geography, and returns.


If your Asia network is due for an update, Tompkins International is ready to help and provide further insight to make your supply chain crossborder ready.

Tompkins International. - 6870 Perry Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27616
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