Wed | Dec 7, 2016

JMA signs shipping MOU for market reach

Published:Sunday | February 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

This story first appeared online on Friday.

The Jamaica Manufactures' Association (JMA) has partnered with a Guadeloupe-based company to give local exporters access to a website which will provide information on the best routes to ship their products to Caribbean markets and to seek out cheaper rates.

The freight forwarding application BECCA, created by Centre D'echanges Informatises Branche Antilles (CEI.BA), will allow local manufacturers to received quotations from shipping companies when they log shipments they intend to make.

Users will also be able to advertise their products and services on BECCA to better tap into regional markets, Sabine Bajazet, communication and external affairs manager at CEI.BA told Sunday Business.

"When you go on the website, the first thing that you have to do is register. Registration is free. When you announce your freight, for example, you say I have two pallets of sandals to send from Jamaica to Guadeloupe or wherever, that is free also. You will only pay when you receive a transport proposal or quotation," Bajazet said.

Exporters will pay US$2 per quote and are able to limit the search results they receive when they announce their freight on the website and therefore control the amount spent per query of the database.

The facility is credit-based. "You buy a pack of 50 credits and every time you use it, it will debit your credit; then you top up with your credit card or PayPal when you need more" said Bajazet.

JMA members also get a 10 per cent discount each time they purchase credit packs, she said. They will be issued a discount code on sign-up.

The website, becca.com, is available to manufacturers, exporters and freight forwarders who will receive guidance from JMA on how to use the site.

JMA president Brian Pengelley urged local freight providers to make use of the service on Thursday.

"It's a tool that gives you access to information," Pengelley said, even as he noted the site will provide exporters with the best shipping deals for their goods.

BECCA also allows shipping operators and ship owners to announce their vessel calls to the market since "most of the times we have containers going full but coming out empty," said Bajazet.

"So if you have a vessel leaving St Vincent, for example, going to touch all the ports on its way to St Martin, but you have space on it, you will announce you transport and send an email via BECCA for people to know that there is space available on your container," she said.

The website is accessible to businesses in the Caribbean and Latin America. It was launched two years ago, with the new transport component added just a month ago, Bajazet said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com