Two large shocks to the global economy – the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have caused major disruptions to global value chains (GVCs) in the EBRD regions.
But how are firms in GVCs coping, and what is the EBRD doing to help them survive and even prosper through the turmoil?
A new paper by EBRD economists Beatrice Ravanetti and Peter Sanfey provides answers by drawing on a recent EBRD enterprise survey, covering more than 800 firms across 15 EBRD countries, and on selected examples of recent interventions by the Bank.
The main findings of the survey, as discussed in more detail in Chapter 3 of the EBRD Transition Report 2022-23, are as follows:
- Shipping issues have been particularly problematic since Covid-19. More than half of respondents who source inputs from China experienced some kind of disruptions to deliveries from there, and one in two firms had to cope with delays from third countries.
- Companies are adapting by growing inventories and increasingly turning to more suppliers. Three-quarters of respondents to the survey adopted at least one new measure recently to increase the resilience of their supply chains.
- The pandemic has prompted many firms to invest in digital technology, such as inventory tracking and optimisation, cargo tracking, and automated warehousing.
- Sanctions on Russia and Belarus are having a major impact, with around two-thirds of firms with suppliers in Russia, Belarus or Ukraine experiencing disruptions in deliveries of inputs from these countries
- Many firms are hiring Ukrainian refugees, partly as a response to labour shortages and historically low unemployment rates, especially in Poland and Lithuania (among other countries).
The EBRD is responding in many ways to these developments, with a mixture of traditional instruments and innovative new frameworks. To take some recent examples:
- The EBRD is financing, or preparing to finance, the capacity expansion of major ports in Poland, Egypt, Türkiye, Kazakhstan and Morocco.
- Longstanding support for improved warehouse logistics has been stepped up through new projects, notably in Ukraine, and in the Slovak Republic with a project supporting the expansion of storage capacity to contribute to secured grain logistics from Ukrainian elevators.
- The EBRD has recently launched a €150 million Supply Chain Solutions Framework, which provides risk-sharing in supply chain finance transactions of partner banks. The successful roll out of the programme in Türkiye and Poland can be replicated elsewhere, including through policy engagement projects in areas such as the design of adequate legislation and regulation, and through digital innovation (e.g., e-invoices, e-signature).
- Recent new projects in agribusiness and food retail are supporting the employment of refugees in Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Moldova.
- The Trade Facilitation Programme – a flagship EBRD product since 1999 – has been expanded during the crisis and is the only active programme in support of trade finance in Ukraine at present.
For an in-depth analysis of global supply chains in turbulent times, see Chapter 3 of the EBRD Transition Report 2022-23, available at: https://2022.tr-ebrd.com/