Shipping firm launches small packages service
Companies which import smaller consignments of freight have faced logistical and pricing difficulties getting their merchandise to the Island.
Shipping, storage and international project management company, Bermuda Forwarders Ltd, has now launched a Small Package Solutions service for ocean freight to fill the need.
Company vice-president T Nicholas Kempe, pointed out: “With decreased volumes and sales it has become increasingly important for Bermuda business to streamline its shipping process, reduce overheads, free up cash flow associated with large inventories and transition to as close to a just-in-time warehouse as possible.”
The new service came about through corporate customer feedback, but Mr Kempe said there would also be room to accommodate individual customers.
He said: “It's simply an additional, new option using the same process as standard ocean freight, offering greatly reduced costs and on-time convenience for those small shipments that are now more necessary than ever.
“There are no buying fees, membership fees or application forms. Customers with small shipments can spontaneously, simply and inexpensively add them to our regular ocean freight service without the usual costs of ocean freight minimums or having to wait to assemble larger shipments.”
The company started with a soft opening for the new service, but there has already been a fair amount of uptake.
Mr Kempe said: “That was evident even at the E-Commerce fair on Thursday, which is not a hard freight-driven type of environment. We had an exhibit booth there where people were selling services and intellectual capital. But even there, people expressed interest. We are expecting this service to grow.”
As sales volumes have dropped, businesses are looking for other ways to route their merchandise. In some cases, they delay importing longer than normal until the volume of their orders gets to a certain level.
He said: “Of course, it is never the ideal situation when people get into a feast or famine scenario. This new service allows people to have frequent ocean shipments, but still keep their costs down.
“We build our consolidated containers. People who used to bring in a full container of goods, may be doing less than a container load now.
“People who were at the lower end of the ‘less than a container load volumes' are the ones who were starting to get pinched a bit.
“And that's who this product is designed to accommodate. It is really for the small retailers, businesses that don't have crazy volumes.
“We've had to do something on the document management side and negotiate with different partners to get the cost down to make these smaller options more feasible. The faster option for importers of course, is an air shipment, but obviously that is more expensive.
“If you are looking for regular re-stocking and your orders are not huge, this is the most cost-effective way.”