A local exporter is advising businesses to band together to export where they can, as it can be beneficial to all concerned.
Henry Yearwood, Commercial Manager with Beverages Caribbean Ltd, the export arm of Banks Holdings, said the biggest challenge to local companies accessing export markets was logistics.
While he acknowledged that there were different standards that had to be met for different markets, like HACCP requirements, the fact was it was often easier to meet demand while saving cost by pairing with other local companies also exporting to similar markets.
“We work with Mount Gay locally, and Hipac [Ltd] and Pine Hill, where we actually allow space to be allocated to some of our shipments for some of the shipments going out from Pine Hill and I am putting that out there to say there are ways and means for people to work in tandem to get their products out into the wider regional and beyond, integrated markets. “So let’s not think of it as what we can’t do, but how can we work together to create solutions and make Barbadian manufacturing more successful and make sure that Barbadian products are available across all markets,” he said.
Yearwood is one of the coordinators of the buyers forum for next week’s BMEX 2013, where buyers and distributors from several countries of the region, including Guyana, Trinidad, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Anguilla, as well as New York are expected in to view local products.
He said these individuals who were being brought in for the June 27 to 30 expo would view the range of what Banks Holdings had to offer, and should also get the opportunity to view some of the other products from other manufacturers.
The commercial manager pointed out that often the challenge with exporting was that the product had to hit the market “retail ready” which could mean different things in different markets.
While BMA Executive Director, Bobbi McKay noted that consolidation among local companies to export to other markets had been happening for a while, Yearwood said: “We are pretty fortunate. Usually our requests are full container loads.
“If I’m shipping to Antigua and that distributor who also represents Mount Gay, wants 50 cases or 100 cases of Extra Old Rum, we can put that 50 cases in and then fill the rest of the space with Pine Hill milks and juices. In the case of Hipac, that’s something we do to St. Vincent and what it has done is increase the frequency of the order, so that they need a half container of Hipac every month or sometimes every six weeks; the frequency for Pine Hill might be every four weeks, it means a container can leave every three weeks.
“It really is a fantastic solution. You share the shipping costs based on the cubic area consumed, used up in the container. So if a container is $2,000 to ship and you’re space allocation is 50 per cent of that, then you pay $1,000,” he said.
McKay added: “The manufacturers are consolidating as well into the US and Canada”. (LB)