Pitney Bowes launches SendPro Online in Australia

PITNEY BOWES – a global technology company that provides commerce solutions in the areas of ecommerce, shipping, mailing and financial services – has made its online parcel sending solution, SendPro Online, available in Australia.

Pitney Bowes vice president and country manager for Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Stephen Darracott, said the online shipping platform provides small businesses and e-tailers with an easier and more convenient way to send parcels.

It is also the first international launch of a dedicated shipping platform for Pitney Bowes outside of the United States.

SendPro Online is a parcel sending platform that lets the user choose a preferred carrier, print shipping labels and track packages all from their computer. It also enables integration of online stores for easy and secure parcel sending, tracking and order management.

Mr Darracott said, “Businesses continued to experience a rush of online orders during 2020 as employees worked from home. As this trend continues into 2021, it’s important to have a solution, like SendPro Online, in place that is flexible and can streamline and expedite the parcel shipping process so businesses can meet and exceed customer expectations. 

“With SendPro Online, businesses can choose from multiple carriers, factoring in cost, speed, and other factors, so they can make sure their parcels are sent with the carrier that best meets their desired outcome.”

SendPro Online simplifies parcel sending by offering two plans in Australia: One pay-as-you-go plan, where businesses can send parcels via CouriersPlease or Aramex (formerly Fastway); and a premium plan, which lets businesses bring their existing accounts and negotiated rates from CouriersPlease, Aramex, Sendle, Australia Post, and StarTrack.

SendPro offers unlimited parcel sending so there is no need for users to worry about additional subscription costs. It also brings multiple carrier accounts together in one platform, so businesses can easily compare pricing and delivery services.

SendPro also integrates online stores such as eBay, Shopify, and WooCommerce into the platform for complete order management, and it is planning to offer Amazon soon.

Mr Darracott said there were huge efficiencies from managing all parcel sending from the one place, “for easy order tracking and reconciliation, saving time and money”.

The service also automates orders and the printing shipping labels online, saving processing time and reducing errors.

“Pitney Bowes is excited to bring SendPro Online to the Australian market so that businesses can benefit from simplified parcel sending that will make a real difference to their bottom line,” he said.


Report urges Australia to 'pivot' and diversify trade and investment

THE Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has released its new report Pivot: Diversifying Australia’s Trade and Investment Profile, which examined how the Australian Government could support businesses to diversify Australia's trade markets and sources of foreign investment.

Committee chair, George Christensen said "now more than ever it was important that Australia takes the opportunity to pivot towards new export markets and trade and investment opportunities, to support sustainable economic growth over the long term".

"The committee has recommended that the government develop a plan for trade diversification and examine options to expand domestic investment and production. These reforms will protect Australia from the risks of having too many eggs in one basket," Mr Christensen said. 

"Diversifying the range of products and services that Australia exports, including through greater support for future-focused and innovative industries, will further ensure Australia is not overexposed to trade disruptions or shocks in any one export market."

Mr Christensen said the committee’s recommendations were also aimed at protecting Australia’s national interest and national security, particularly in sensitive and critical sectors.

The committee made 21 recommendations, which include:

  • Developing and releasing a plan for trade diversification, and continuing to create trade opportunities including in India, Vietnam and through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement;
  • Increasing industry awareness of national security and national interest risks related to trade and investment, particularly for sensitive and critical sectors;
  • Investigating new options for increasing domestic funding for universities, requiring universities to publicly disclose the receipt of funding from foreign state linked bodies or individuals, and where the veto powers in Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 allow, considering restrictions to foreign state-linked funding to Australian universities where the funding is not considered to be in the national interest;
  • Increasing Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capacity and ensuring that Australia has adequate supplies of key resources;
  • Greater support for the ‘industries of tomorrow’;
  • A clear and consistent definition of the national interest for foreign investment;
  • Reporting on whether the leasing of the Port of Darwin to a foreign company will be subject to the Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020; and
  • Options for greater domestic investment, including through superannuation funds and consideration of a national development bank.

The full report is on the committee’s webpage.


ABF launches trials in blockchain trade security with Singapore

THE Australian Border Force (ABF) is developing solutions to make cross border trade simpler and paperless for Australian businesses, in line with the bilateral Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.

A trial was launched on November 23 with Singapore Customs and Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to test digital verification systems. These systems are the first to be developed using blockchain technology by experts from Australia and Singapore at the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) for inter-government document exchange.

ABF commissioner Michael Outram said the ABF looked forward to close collaboration with international partner agencies on mutual border modernisation programs. 

“The ABF welcomes the opportunity to collaborate further with Singapore to improve cross-border trade between our countries," he said. "In addition to our efforts internationally, this initiative will incorporate paperless trading and secure, digital exchange of trade information as part of the future architecture and design of an Australian Trade Single Window”.

The trial will test digital verification platforms across both the ABF-developed Intergovernmental Ledger (IGL) and IMDA’s TradeTrust for electronic trade documents. Businesses and regulators will give feedback on their experience verifying Certificates of Origin with the two systems – with the aim of reducing administration costs and increasing trade efficiency.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, as well as financial institutions in Singapore, including ANZ, will take part in the trial.

The trial supports the Australian Government’s recently announced Simplified Trade Agenda, which will reform and digitise trade compliance processes. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is also collaborating on complimentary digital initiatives with Singapore regulators to progress paperless trading for phytosanitary and sanitary certificates for food and agricultural trade.

The ABF will feed lessons learned from the trial into the Supply Chain Working Group’s Discovery Report under the National Blockchain Roadmap led by Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.


Resources report: sector is keeping Queensland economy 'afloat'

  • Trade

THE RESOURCES industry has played a critical role in keeping Queenslanders working and earning through COVID-19 and is central to the state’s economic recovery, according to the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) latest State of the Sector report.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said results from its quarterly report -- which gathered feedback from business leaders in mining, energy, minerals processing, contracting, exploration, electricity generation and oil and gas extraction between July and August this year -- proved resources had been a “life raft” for the state in terms of jobs and exports.

“More than 80 percent -- or $63 billion -- of Queensland’s exports over the past 12 months came directly from our resources sector, which is $12,000 of export sales for every man, woman and child in Queensland,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“This is a result more than 370,000 Queensland resource sector workers can be very proud of, and we hope Queenslanders are proud of too.

“I’ll be in Townsville today and Mackay and Rockhampton this week to promote the importance of the resources sector to Queensland’s economic recovery and stability post-COVID, because it’s not something that should be taken for granted by government or the community,” he said.

“Just like any industry, resources is impacted by fluctuating commodity prices, economic conditions, changes in government regulations and shifts in community expectations, so we need to keep communicating what our industry has to offer so people can understand what a powerhouse it is for our state.

“Make no mistake, without the resources industry continuing to perform, produce and employ, Queensland is in a precarious economic position.”

Mr Macfarlane said the State of the Sector report found burdensome State Government red tape was a major headwind facing the sector.

“There are projects that have been waiting more than a decade for approval, which is frankly ridiculous and a job killer,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The resources industry needs a more streamlined assessment process for new projects and expansion of existing projects, coupled with a streamlined, best practice regulatory framework to operate within. Business as usual post-COVID is not going to cut it."

Mr Macfarlane said despite resources being recognised as an essential activity by all levels of government, the State of the Sector survey found companies have become increasingly concerned about State Government uncertainty and regulation, with confidence falling a concerning seven points compared to the previous quarter.

“If the resources sector is to keep earning and employing, we cannot have unreasonable barriers to new investment and jobs put in place by the State Government with little or no consultation or warning,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Constant increases in taxes and charges, and changes to rules and regulations, frighten away potential long-term investors in our sector and must stop.

“The more projects we can bring to production, the more jobs and more dollars there will be for Queenslanders and for Queensland.

“To make this happen we need regulatory stability and certainty in Queensland, starting with a 10-year hold on royalties and charges to give ourselves a fighting chance of making it out the other side of COVID.”


Australia's fuel security plan 'misses the boat' on shipping say unions

  • Trade

THE $211 million commitment from the Federal Government to fund increased domestic fuel storage and support Australian oil refineries is a welcome step to improving fuel security, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), but the plan still fails to resolve issues facing the transport of liquid fuels to Australia and around the coast.

The plan seeks to deliver an additional 780megalitres of onshore diesel storage, along with minimum stockholding obligation for key transport fuels, however the policy will still see Australia fall well short of the International Energy Agency’s 90-day fuel stockholding obligation.

The MUA said the announcement also failed to address the nation’s complete reliance on foreign owned, operated and crewed tankers to transport oil and petroleum products to Australia and around the coast.

The union said the situation had greatly deteriorated in recent decades, with more than 90 percent of Australia’s liquid fuel needs now arriving via foreign owned and operated tankers. While 12 Australian-crewed tankers operated in the year 2000, there are no longer any in service.

MUA national secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation president Paddy Crumlin urged the Federal Government to address the nation’s complete reliance on foreign owned, operated and crewed tankers as part of efforts to address Australia’s chronic fuel security issues.

“The Morrison Government’s initial steps to enhance domestic fuel refining and storage capacity are a good start, but genuine energy security requires action on how fuel is transported to Australia and around the coast,” Mr Crumlin said. 

“The COVID-19 heath crisis has highlighted the vulnerability of Australia’s supply chains and demonstrated how quickly a pandemic, military conflict, natural disaster, or economic shock could impact the supply of essential goods.

“Clear gaps in Australia’s sovereign self-sufficiency have been exposed, placing a clear obligation on the Federal Government to close these gaps and reinforce the cabotage system that governs shipping around our coast, along with biosecurity, immigration, and related border controls.

“The COVID-19 crisis reinforced how absolutely essential shipping is, not only to fuel security but also to maintaining other domestic supply chains that provide essential deliveries," Mr Crumlin said.

“Australia’s complete reliance on foreign owned and operated tankers has left the nation extremely vulnerable, with no guarantee these vessels would continue to supply Australia during a major crisis.

“While recent shortages of household items were inconvenient, a crisis that cut fuel supplies would force the entire economy to grind to a halt.”

The MUA met with Energy Minister Angus Taylor in July to outline this weakness in Australia’s fuel security.

“The Federal Government clearly understands that improving fuel security requires the strengthening of domestic refining capacity and a substantial increase to domestic storage, but the issue of how fuel products are transported to our island nation remains unresolved,” Mr Crumlin said. 

“If the Federal Government is serious about examining industry solutions to address Australia’s fuel security, then it needs to look at the creation of a strategic fleet of Australian owned, flagged, or crewed tankers capable of maintaining supplies of oil and refined petroleum products in the event of a crisis.

“In a report commissioned by the MUA, shipping expert John Francis found the exclusive reliance on foreign flagged tankers for crude and refined petroleum products removed any opportunity for the Commonwealth to requisition national flag tankers if needed to maintain fuel supplies during a crisis," Mr Crumlin said.

“His report, Australia’s Fuel Security – Running on Empty, concluded that the retention of a minimum number of Australian owned, managed and crewed tankers was not only justified on national security grounds, but could be achieved at a minimal cost to end users.”

Australia’s Fuel Security – Running on Empty report is available at:


Qld resource exports holding up despite COVID-19

INTERNATIONAL TRADE in Queensland’s resources has stayed consistent with an 80 percent contribution to the total value of the state’s exports of $82.1 billion in the 12 months to March 2020, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest ABS data was another solid result from the sector as the economic impacts of COVID-19 unfolded. 

“While it’s good to see the resources sector contributing more than three quarters or $65 billion to Queensland’s exports, the months ahead could be challenging as we see contractions in the world economy,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“China is Queensland’s largest market with $28 billion in exports over the last 12 months while coal remains our most important export commodity with $34 billion in international sales.

“While these numbers are encouraging especially for jobs here in Queensland, the industry will be closely monitoring any movement in demand from our international trading partners." 

Queensland Treasury data:


Stronger domestic cattle market to counter pandemic-affected trade says Rabobank

EXTREME opposing forces will dominate the Australian cattle market in 2020, with limited supply and strong local demand driving prices, but tempered by the global COVID-19 disruption, according to Rabobank’s Australian Beef Cattle Seasonal Outlook report.

The just-released report, titled The Battle of the Bulls versus Bears, outlined that despite the market being seriously tested by contracting global economic growth and COVID-19 containment measures, domestic forces would emerge victorious, keeping cattle prices high. 

Rabobank senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said widespread rain had buoyed local restocking motivation among producers, reducing cattle sales and adding buying competition in an already supply-constrained market, with Australia’s cattle inventory reportedly at a 30-year low.

“We estimate the Australian cattle slaughter will fall 14 percent in 2020 to 7.29 million head, with a further decrease of two per cent in 2021,” Mr Gidley-Baird said.

Production was expected to drop to 2.1 million tonnes – among the lowest volumes seen in 15 years – with seasonally-driven increases in slaughter weights failing to offset reduced numbers.

While price-positive for graziers looking to sell livestock, Mr Gidley-Baird said low cattle availability would create challenges for producers, processors and feedlots, forced to manage their businesses with lower livestock numbers and high cattle prices.

Low slaughter numbers were also expected to contribute to a dramatic decline in Australian beef exports, forecast to drop 17 percent in 2020 to one million tonnes.

The significantly decreased cow slaughter – reducing Australia’s production of lean manufacturing beef – was also expected to result in a shift in volumes between export markets, Mr Gidley-Baird said.

“The US is a large market for lean manufacturing beef – 62 percent of exports to the US are manufacturing beef – and, all other things being equal, we expect exports to the US to drop in 2020,” he said. 


Forecasts suggest a dramatic contraction in global economic growth in 2020 resulting from COVID-19 that will be worse than experienced in the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2009, with large economic declines expected in key Australian beef markets such as the US, China and Japan.

As a high-priced protein, Mr Gidley-Baird said, beef would feel the impact of reduced consumer expenditure, with overall beef demand – particularly for premium products sold through full-service restaurants – expected to decline.

Heavily reliant on foodservice trade, Australia’s beef exports would also be hit by COVID-19-led social restrictions, particularly in China, where more beef was eaten out of home.

“This disruption to food service and slowing economic conditions is expected to place downward pressure on Australia’s beef export prices, creating a difficult price squeeze for those in the beef supply chain managing high cattle prices in a softer global market,” Mr Gidley-Baird said.

At the same time, Mr Gidley-Baird said, a weaker Australian dollar, China’s reduced pork availability due to African swine fever, and the US-China trade deal were all positive offsetting factors.


Despite countering global and domestic forces at play, the report forecasts the average annual Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) to increase by 30 percent in 2020, to equal the annual average record set in 2016 at A$6.32 per kg.

Based on the last reported EYCI price of A$7.41/kg on March 19, this would mean prices were expected to ease but still remain strong over the remainder of the year.

However, given the forecast dramatic reduction in economic activity, uncertainty remained surrounding global beef price performance.


With climatic conditions taking a toll on northern cattle herds in past seasons, breeding inventory across Queensland and Northern Territory was estimated at a 20-year low in late 2019.

Mr Gidley-Baird said breeding numbers in some areas of southern Queensland were expected to be 75 percent below normal, yet, despite tough conditions, well-priced sales had generated solid returns, placing producers in a strong position to start the recovery.

As such, the report tipped Queensland would emerge as the 'colosseum' of the Australian cattle recovery.

“Producers, feedlotters, processors and live exporters are all vying for a very small pool of cattle, and prices in Queensland may see some of the strongest gains across all states given this fierce competition,’ Mr Gidley-Baird said.

Breeding cattle numbers were also significantly down in central and northern New South Wales, while higher breeder numbers and calf availability out of the south of the state remained closer to normal.

He said Victorian producers remained well-positioned to capitalise on national restocking demand and higher prices, with most areas – east Gippsland excluded – maintaining close to normal breeding numbers.

In South Australia, Mr Gidley-Baird said, producers could also look forward to a positive year, despite 2019’s dry conditions and reduced cattle inventory in the northern pastoral country.

“There may be slightly softer demand by local producers for replacement cattle, compared to NSW and Queensland, but these markets will still provide strong buyer interest for South Australian producers looking to sell cattle,” he said.

Dry conditions across much of Western Australia’s cattle-producing regions had driven increased slaughter rates, and would curb 2020 production, Mr Gidley-Baird said, however upward price pressure would come from east coast demand.

In Tasmania, current breeding cattle on-farm numbers were similar to early 2019, reflective of normal levels, yet increased competition from the mainland could see the movement of cattle out of the state.


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