UNCONTROLLABLE VARIABLES: Over the past few months a few things have slowed the development of businesses, particularly for those where shipping is an integral part of business. Skyrocketing Fuel: At the end of last summer, most shipping companies added fuel surcharges to the already high prices. That hit our customers like a double-edged sword. Most manufacturers had to raise prices due to the extra cost incurred from shipping in and out needed components and finished products respectively. Then, airlines had to get their share of fuel surcharge as well. While all these cost changes affected us, the effect was probably doubled on our customers in Africa who had to make important decisions under such uncertainty. Wild Weather: While still recovering from the fuel’s price spike, shipping became even more unpredictable due to a hurricane season (September, October) that left the Galveston/ Houston port and airport facilities nearly under the ocean. December has not been a smooth ride either. The end of year festivities and the must-be-finished-now projects came right when most of the North American continent was swept by record-breaking snow storms. Unfortunately, those are events we cannot control, regardless of where and when they happen. Sorry if you were the victim!