JMA seeks to cut Caribbean transport time via Guadeloupe on-line solution

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 13, 2015

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LOCAL importers and exporters are to benefit from easier movement of freight across the Caribbean and Latin America following a deal between the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and Guadeloupe-based company Centre D'echanges Informatises Branche Antilles (CEIBA).


The platform, becca-exchange.com, will allow importers and exporters to find a transport solution by announcing their freight online after which transport operators will respond by proposing their transport quotations. Ultimately, the exporter or importer can choose the best offer based on each carrier's price and delivery deadlines in the designated locations.


'The big thing is that this brings an option. One of the big issues we have at the moment is the movement of freight through the Caribbean region, so our members will now have an option to go on this web-based programme to say that they have freight ready to move next week and then be able to source one of their options," president of the JMA Brian Pengelley told the Jamaica Observer during the signing of the memorandum of understanding yesterday.


Currently, goods are freighted from Jamaica to Miami, after which they are transported from Miami to the required destination, according to Pengelley. Not only does this process consume a lot of time, it also proves to be very costly.


'If we are going to develop the Caribbean markets we have to look at better ways of moving logistically. Air travel takes two days to reach Guadeloupe from Jamaica because it has to overnight in Miami and then fly the following day. Business is not built on that, we can go to Europe in a day now; two days in the Caribbean is crazy," he stated.


The platform will be open to members of the public; however, manufacturers registered with JMA will be provided with a user code which will allow them a 10 per cent discount off the price of the credit packs that enable the use of the BECCA platform. An additional 10 per cent will be offered to JMA-registered manufacturers off the price of advertising the insert.


"Instead of using your Visa cards, you will buy a pack of 50 credits which will be debited on each transaction. But the pack of credit which is US$50 ($5,750) for everyone, will be 10 per cent off for members of the JMA," Communication and External Affairs manager of CEIBA, Sabine Bajazet told the Caribbean Business Report.


The average user is required to pay US$2 ($230) once they have found their transport solution.


The platform will also allow local importers and exporters to easily locate transport solutions, while allowing shipping operators, freight forwarders and ship owners to optimise their transportation.


"There are definitely cost savings that will come and also some flexibility, because export trade is really based on flexibility and being able to meet demand," Pengelley stated. "Your supplier or customer on the far end is not interested in your problems, they give you an order and they want to receive the goods."


Pengelley added that the new platform should also boost the revenue earnings of a number of companies as freight rates will correspond to the exporter and importer needs, allowing them to tap into new markets.


"Certainly we are interested in two-way trade and I think that is how we are going to grow. We have small economies within this region and therefore we have to find ways of collaborating together in order to drive our business and this is just one step in the process," he said.



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