Speaking with Sarah Yetman, CEO of Sovereignport, we understand how she pioneered a CBD and hemp supply chain that is surviving COVID-19 measures
Sarah Yetman is the CEO of Sovereignport, a Native American CBD shipping company located in the United States. Currently shipping into dozens of countries, she is known as the expert on all things CBD shipping and logistics. She is also a market analyst of CBD and industrial hemp, worldwide. Having shipped to, from, and throughout the EU, she is here to discuss how to navigate getting CBD shipped globally while countries are closing their transportation.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions today Sarah. Your company primarily provides shipping logistics and customs clearance for CBD and industrial hemp, is that right?
Yes. While we offer many different types of services, our specialty is customs clearance. The market has exploded, and there is enough work to keep us busy for years. CBD suppliers are always looking for the best way to clear customs without getting their product confiscated. This poses numerous challenges in which most CBD suppliers are unaware. With the various countries coming online and defining their programs, laws are updated regularly. Even the most diligent individual can lose track.
That is where we come in. I always tell people; “Sure they can ship, but can they deliver?” Even if they answer yes, there is a chance that their package won’t arrive. I can’t even BEGIN to explain all the horror stories that cross my desk. While I understand how easily this can happen, there are 100% guaranteed routes if you have the time and money to invest in setting them up.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the CBD market worldwide?
Not surprisingly, with people around the world focusing on “essentials”, the purchase of CBD has slowed to a crawl. As such, shipments and purchases around the world of isolate and CBD have also ceased. We saw our own revenue drop from millions of dollars in January to nearly zero revenue in February and March. While I anticipate that this is going to impact the CBD market, both commercially and industrially for a few weeks, the reality is that CBD is an essential supplement for millions of people around the world.
On the business side of CBD, this temporary slow-down comes at a poor time for the market, we were just now acclimating to the US being flooded with products. Now, with these transportation issues, we are helping find products closer to home or that have already been cleared at an EU port from the US. For example, we have EU/GMP CBD at amazing rates on the ground (Less than $1500 a kilo). These opportunities won’t be around forever, even during a recession.
But aren’t shipping routes closed down during the pandemic?
Actually, no, and thank you for asking that. In reality, borders are not closed, and shipping is possible. During this time, we are deeply reliant on our local, national and global supply chains, for all our necessary goods, and we are so grateful to the men and women who are working diligently to keep those open. In regards to CBD and industrial hemp, Sovereignport has Fair Trade Zone ports in the EU able to process shipments and clear products in a safe environment.
But isn’t there a concern of contamination?
Because CBD is a plant commodity, extraordinary efforts to maintain cleanliness and decontamination are taken. The shipping containers from the port of exit are disinfected industrially, and cleanly loaded. Once the product has reached the port of entry, we carefully unload the original container and reload the product into clean containers before it is put into the supply chain. We also re-test the product in an EU lab before shipping.
Are you still able to provide CBD shipping logistics and support to and from the EU?
At this time, we have multiple shipping routes into and out of the European Union. However, I can only speak to the current situation and the immediate outlook based on that. Because this involves everything from human behavior, viral elements, political response, and global diplomacy, things may change at any point. With the US failing to take this threat seriously early in the process, and even now fumbling over itself trying to provide support, it may be that the US will be cut off from export soon. If that is the case, we will be completely reliant upon selling and trading inside our own borders. I am working, both with and alongside, other professionals in the field, on addressing and upgrading the internal supply chain to meet the needs of our US CBD consumers and producers.
During this time, for the shipping routes that remain open, we have been working with suppliers of other goods to help with ease of shipping logistics. Again, though we can only help as long as our own shipping routes and ports remain open, we want to do everything we can to support and help the entire supply chain, and be sure that people get the goods that they need. Also, while we normally will only negotiate shipments of full containers, because we are working with multiple suppliers and doing the best we can to help on every level, we are willing to ship smaller masses of CBD, Hemp and related products. It is our hope that this will help keep smaller producers afloat during these uncertain times.
Any final thoughts?
While the CBD market is not immune to such a challenging financial obstacle as we are currently facing, and will likely continue to face for some time, CBD is a supplement that has been found to have extraordinary impacts on the health and well-being of millions of people around the world. As such, neither recession nor pandemic will eliminate this vibrant and growing market. While it may not be “recession proof”, I think you will find that it is “recession resistant” and will continue to be an integral and new commodity in 2020 and beyond.
Please note: This is a commercial profile