Sat | Feb 17, 2018

Jetcon to enter export market

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
In this March 24, 2016 photo, Managing Director Andrew Jackson celebrates the listing of Jetcon Corporation, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange in Kingston. The company has experienced substantial growth since its market debut and is now looking to break into exports.

​Pre-owned car dealer Jetcon Corporation Limited wants to break into the export market and has already sought out space in an economic zone to push-start those plans.

Jetcon plans to distribute pre-owned cars to Caribbean markets and is already in negotiations with suppliers in Japan. The Jamaican dealership would be the first to ever engage in cross-border trade of second-hand vehicles.

Jetcon's plan is to bring in large shipments and fill the orders of smaller dealers in the region.

The car dealership has been experiencing exceptional growth since founder and Managing Director Andrew Jackson took the company public and was listed on the Jamaican stock exchange in March 2016.

Now, Jackson says he sees more opportunity for growth in exports.

Jetcon has leased space as a client inside the special economic zone, SEZ, operated by Kingston Wharves Limited, which will give him storage space at the port company's Tinson Pen complex for the vehicles imports.

"Yes, we're partnering with Kingston Wharves and with suppliers in Japan. At this time, we can't say more, because it is at a delicate stage," Jackson said.

The arrangement will allow the company to take in one large shipment of cars into the zone after which distribution or re-export can take place over time, according to Jackson.

"We'll have space in the SEZ that will allow us to do things a lot differently than we're doing now. For one, we'll be able to export, as we're looking at becoming a distributor for the region. We can also sell to other dealers, in that we can bring cars into the zone without import permits or duties and so on," Jackson told the Financial Gleaner.

Jetcon sells 80-100 cars per month to Jamaican buyers. It mostly trades in pre-owned Subaru, Mazda and Nissan, and a limited range of Toyota brands, such as Axio, Fielder and Probox. The brands tapped for regional export will be based on demand, the car dealer said.

The company aims to quadruple its business through the export initiative, which Jackson expects to launch in another six to eight months. In the meantime, he said Jetcon hopes to build the domestic side of the business by distributing to local dealers.

"Initially, we're looking to build up to about 300-400 cars per month. The facility we've carved out can hold about 600-800 cars," said Jackson.

"That allows us to keep the cars there long term without any additional costs. There is one big fixed cost, but no additional incremental cost," he said.

Jetcon recently acquired additional space at Dumbarton Avenue in Kingston to handle spillovers from its complex at Sandringham Road. But it still needs more space for its bulging inventory.

The arrangement with Kingston Wharves will effectively solve that problem, while positioning the dealership to service other markets, Jackson said.

"The arrangement allows us to send cars back out into the region or we can hand over to other dealers who can, in turn, use their permits to take them out of the zone," he told the Financial Gleaner.

Under the SEZ programme, goods exiting the zone and bound for the Jamaican market for local consumption will attract the requisite duties.

Jetcon's arrangement with Kingston Wharves was first disclosed by the port company's CEO, Grantley Stephenson, at the December 16 commissioning of the KW Global Logistics Centre. Stephenson announced that Jetcon had signed on as a client and that ATL Automotive would follow in February. ATL Automotive operates several dealerships in the new-car market segment, including Honda, VW and Audi, and it is also the regional master dealer for BMW.

Reports from the Trade Board indicate that 1,200-2,000 motor vehicles pass through Jamaica's ports every month, inclusive of new and pre-owned vehicles.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com