SINCE opening a branch office in Fiji this year, China Navigation Company, Swire Shipping (Agencies) Ltd has been working to grow its brand recognition in the South Pacific.
Company representative Chris de Villiers said their immediate goal was to foster trade and make Fiji the hub of their operation.
“From a Swire Shipping perspective our biggest challenge starting out here in Fiji was that in the past we’ve always operated through an agency so the idea of setting up our own branch office was to grow our brand recognition in the South Pacific.
“That’s our challenge; we want Swire Shipping to be a household name. We want all the industry where we work to be able to recognise Swire Shipping and for what it stands for in terms of our excellence our single partner solution and just being able to be a solution to people’s supply needs,” he said.
The company, which has enjoyed 200 years of operation globally, decided upon Fiji after buying out Pacific Agencies this year.
The shipping company provides shipping services from around the world into Fiji with ships coming from Australia, Singapore, South East Asia, China, Korea and Japan.
Mr de Villiers, who was with the Swire branch office in Papua New Guinea before being posted to Fiji, says they’re slowly getting around in Fiji.
“PNG is a lot more developed market and the country is a lot bigger.
“Within Fiji there are still some issues where they’re a little bit behind in terms of dealing with the various stakeholders to do with shipping,” he says.
“There are now moves to do single window entries where all the different organisations that deal with shipping work together like Customs, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) to make it easier and facilitate trade.
“That’s probably our biggest challenge at the moment — to work with various organisations and stakeholders that deal with shipping. Our strategy is to try and grow Fiji as a hub for our vessels. So we have vessels coming from all over the Pacific and Asia.
It makes it more efficient for us. So that’s our immediate focus is to gain on those efficiencies,” he said.
Currently 30 vessels from Swire Shipping Company operate in the Pacific.