For local businesses and exporters in the Solomon Islands the risk of putting on a regular service for less than full container loads are great. Sectors involving in the export of products are not big enough to incentivise to put on less than a container loads.
Fortunately, there are some committed to unlocking this impasse.
Express Freight Management (EFM), with support from Strongim Bisnis, have invested in the creation of a scheduled less than container load service. With this service local exporters can ship as little as 1m3 and only pay for that amount, instead of the whole container.
This new service was launched during the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) Business After 5 (BA5) networking event on Friday 6 August at the Heritage Park Hotel.
EFM Country Manager, Mr. Ronnie Isip says at the moment they are focusing on exporting agricultural products to the global market as a way of providing assistance to local agricultural farmers.
“At Express Freight we are aware of the requirements and needs of the people and through our services we will give time to consolidate those products, put them in a container and then send them globally opening the market for Solomon Islanders,” he said.
According to Mr. Tim Lawther, Business Partnership Director at Strongim Bisnis, Sectors cannot grow unless they can trial new products and/or new markets.
Mr. Lawther said Express Freight have proven to be a collaborative and reliable partner to Strongim Bisnis in this initiative.
“Strongim Bisnis will guarantee the empty space under 13m3, which is roughly the break-even point to send a container.
“This means if only 6m3 of space is bought by an exporter, we (Strongim Bisnis) will cover the remaining 7m3. If 11m3 is bought, we’ll cover 2m3,” he said.
He said, as long as at least 1m3 is booked, Strongim Bisnis will cover 12m3 and the container will go every two months for a start, to Singapore, and from there anywhere in the world.
“If this is successful, we may guarantee the Less Than Container Load (LCL) services with greater regularity to other locations. And with other freighting firms.
With this LCL service Strongim Bisnis will also be collaborating with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus) and Mr. James Kana from Ueniusu’unu Agribusiness Group who have launched an LCL Platform, to allow businesses to book consignments online and with ease. The two interventions will fit together and give exporters options.
“I think it’s going to be transformative for any Solomon Islands business requiring outbound freight,” Mr Lawther said.
Strongim Bisnis is an Australian Government initiative working with the private sector and Solomon Islands Government to make a strong, positive and lasting impact through business growth.
SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector, acknowledges its member Express Freight Management and partner Strongim Bisnis for this new service that will go a long way in benefiting, particularly small and medium sized businesses especially during this pandemic.
“This is a very helpful solution and not only for the reason they don’t need to produce large amounts of product to fulfill an entire space. The main advantage is saving – they pay only for the parts they use.”
“For some businesses, this means significant cost reduction and directing money to more necessary needs which is extremely important during the pandemic,” SICCI’s Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO), Ronnie Golopitu, said.
Mr. Golopitu said, according to surveys conducted by the Chamber, export businesses are very affected by the pandemic and LCL is not only a smart but also effective way to do business.
“LCL can be one of the essential options for saving the necessary strength for the business steps in the future. Those kinds of benefits can help them not only to adapt to the coronavirus circumstances but also to focus on their own business as effectively as they can.
“This LCL service falls in line with SICCI’s goal through its EIDO Department to progress relevant market access related activities to assist in export industry growth in Solomon Islands,” Mr. Golopitu said.