Supply chain view

Very, very small worlds: Micronations

Ministates, global trade, and the (non-existing) consequences for your supply chain operations.

I recently stumbled across something completely unknown to me: in fact – and quite literally – a whole new country to explore. Or, maybe I should even say “a new world”? The more I learned the more it fascinated me and immediately seeing a link to global trade, I decided to make “micronations” a topic here. 

Liberland. The youngest State on earth (and one of the smallest).

It all started in April with the news that a new state had been founded in the southeastern part of Europe. What? A new country? Yes. A “micronation”, as it is called. And its name shall be “Liberland” (official website). 

What immediately crossed my mind was this: Does AEB need to change its global trade management system? What is the ISO country code for Liberland? Do we need to update our compliance screening data? And how will exports to Liberland be handled? …

But before reaching out to our experts to settle my panic, I indulged in a full hour of procrastination to find out more about this itsy bitsy 2.1 square mile large small country. It was founded on a small patch of land “in” the Danube River that had not been claimed by either Croatia or Serbia. Strange? It’s only just the beginning. Because Liberland might be the youngest micronation, but it is by far not the only one – and not the smallest one either.

A whole cosmos of micro countries

If we look for the smallest (not the scmallest ;-)) of these ministates, it’s perhaps the “Principality of Sealand” that is in the lead. It is also the oldest one known – and perhaps the scariest: In 1967 a British “freak“ took possession of the former British military sea fortress HM Fort Roughs. So, it’s the smallest, the oldest, and the strangest of all. When I googled “Sealand”, I discovered the great documentary “Empire ME” by the Austrian journalist Paul Poet.

At this point I decided to stop exploring the topic any further in the realms of my office – and to relocate to the couch at home to continue my studies. Ten minutes later I was there and couldn’t wait to learn more about “Hutt River”, “the Federation of Damanhur”, “the Swimming Cities of Serenissima”, and, of course, “Christiania” in the midst of one of my favorite cities: Copenhagen.

Global trade compliance concerning Christiania?

I don’t know where you are while you’re reading this, but perhaps you are also sitting on your couch. And by now you might be wondering: Erm, what does this have to do again with supply chains? Well, Sealand seems to have some real demand for building materials… Liberland doesn’t really produce anything… and even though Christiania is inhabited by Hippies – they also need supplies. So, these micronations are actual markets – and some of them are new. Well, I admit: micro markets. But: a market is a market, and you can never know…

And this is where we come back to the “professional” question the existence of such states eventually poses to AEB’s value proposition aimed at businesses involved in international trade: AEB delivers cutting-edge solutions to facilitate, automate, and secure logistics and customs processes.

This means that even though Liberland’s status under international trade laws is still unclear (as is the case for all the others I’ve listed) – for AEB’s customers, the status is very clear: As soon as they engage in business with one of these micronation residents, and of course, use AEB systems in doing so, they can be sure it’s happening in an efficient and compliant way!

First final remark for bookworms:

I know the holiday season is over – but the next chance will come up soon, so it’s never too early to plan. Here is a brilliant travel guide to these countries…

Final remark for debaters:

Any comments? Any remarks? Any micronation you have founded or visited? I’m happy to exchange with you via LinkedIn and XING