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Express Freight Management – Honiara, Solomon Islands

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Interview with

Mr. Ronnie Isip
General/Country Manager

EFM Ronnie-Isip

When and where was the company Express Freight Management (EFM) established?

Operating since 1989, Express Freight Management (EFM) has grown and expanded its business portfolio to be one of the South Pacific’s leading freight service providers.

EFM’s mission is to maintain excellence in service by providing superior logistics offerings professionally and competitively the first time for arrival on time.

Family owned and operated with management who has extensive knowledge and experience gained from over 30 years in the PNG freight industry, the company employs over 400 staff, dealing in international import and export trade.

EFM is the best choice in the South Pacific & Oceania.

Solomon-Islands Map

Solomon Islands is far away from the major trade lanes, so can you tell us whether you sometimes handle project cargoes on the islands?  How are the port conditions, crane facilities, etc.?

Yes, Solomon Islands is far from the major trade lanes, but we are still a major part of the trade between Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Fiji, and PNG.

EFM Tina-Photos-09

We have proficiency in handling major projects. Our ability to deliver efficient service paves the way to be the preferred Project Logistics in the Solomon Islands. We are the major player on the Tina River Hydro Project. EFM provides logistics support by clearing and delivering 36 pieces of heavy equipment for the first stage of the Tina River Hydro Project in 2019.

EFM Tina-Photos-06
EFM Tina-Photos-07

This project worth over USD 200 million is the largest ever project for the Solomon Islands. It aims to address one of the high operating costs of doing business in Honiara which is electricity. It is expected to generate at least 440 jobs during the construction phase form 2020 to 2024.

EFM Tina-Photos-01
EFM Tina-Photos-05

The year 2020 opened with a requirement to clear and transport 100×40’, 10×20’ & 24’ construction equipment and 3 oversized prefabricated offices.

EFM Tina-Photos-08

Solomon Islands Ports have two key transshipment facilities: the Port of Honiara and The Port of Noro. These ports cater to both international and domestic requirements which are both handled by the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA). For the South Pacific, SIPA is the second largest port authority in terms of the square footage that it has under its portfolio and is one of the most profitable port-operating entities, although we’re one of the only state-owned organizations in the region.

Honiara Domestic Port
Honiara Domestic Port
Honiara International Port
Honiara International Port

The Honiara Port does not have any port cranes and uses only ship cranes. But SIPA has the following types of equipment:

  • Reachstacker: 8×45 MT
  • Forklifts: 8 FL (ranging from 3 – 16 MT)

The Port Capacities are as follows:

  • Container facility : 20ft 2,000, 40ft 1,000
  • Refrigerated container stations : 30 (and connection points)
  • Daily take off capacity : 250
  • Off take capacity of gang shift : 100

Is customs clearance difficult?

Customs clearance is a simple process that is part of our service. One should have a licensed broker that is the only one authorized to clear any shipment by air or by sea.

EFM has an in-house broker.

What are the main commodities for import & export on the islands?

Solomon Islands is the 155th largest export economy in the world. In 2017, the Solomon Islands exported $696M and imported $588M, resulting in a positive trade balance of $107M. In 2017, the GDP of the Solomon Islands was $1.3B, and its GDP per capita was $2.42k.

Using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification, the top exports of the Solomon Islands are: 

  • Rough Wood ($474m)
  • Processed Fish ($52m)
  • Palm Oil ($28.7m)
  • Wood Stakes ($24.1m)
  • Copra ($18.8m)

Its top imports are: 

  • Refined Petroleum ($88.7m)
  • Electric Filament ($45.7m)
  • Rice ($40.7m)
  • Large Construction Vehicles ($24.7m)
  • Cars ($13.1m)

The top export destinations of the Solomon Islands are China ($456M), Italy ($56.5M), the Philippines ($30.4M), the Netherlands ($18.8M) and India ($17.6M). The top import origins are Australia ($100M), China ($79.1M), New Zealand ($78.7M), Singapore ($78.1M) and Malaysia ($69.7M).

The Solomon Islands borders Australia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu by sea.

How do you handle transport to the outlying islands? Have you had such experience, and could you provide us with a few examples & pictures of cargoes you have dealt with?

Inter-island transport is one of the challenges that most are encountering here in the Solomon Islands. But with our “Yes We Can” attitude, we treat these challenges as part of our work ethic that increases our expertise in handling anything.

We use domestic ships, barges, and landing crafts that partner with us in serving our clients, providing them with whatever requirements they need to transport whatever cargo they have.

I am sorry, but we don’t have any photos that I can share, since there was nothing taken. If we have some soon, I will ensure that moments as such will be captured. Those cargoes are mostly break-bulk of industrial generators, washing machines, and dryers

Can you elaborate a bit on the history of the Solomon Islands, and tell our readers more?

The Solomon Islands is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of a double chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in Melanesia. The country comprises most of the Solomons chain, except for Buka and Bougainville, two islands at the northwestern end that form an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. Read the complete history here: https://www.britannica.com/place/Solomon-Islands

Solomon Islands

When flights resume worldwide again, via what gateway is normally the best way to get to Honiara?

Normally, there are flights to Honiara transiting to Port Moresby with South East Asian Countries through Air Niugini and direct flights from Brisbane through Solomon Airlines & Virgin Airlines.

If you were a tourist, which place on the islands would you recommend to visit?

There are many places in the Solomon Islands to visit:

The US War Memorial is located at Skyline Ridge. Tales of the historical happenings at the Battle of Guadalcanal during WWII are written on the stone wall monuments—a great way to learn about the involvement of the US forces during WWII. Organized tours can be arranged with local tour operators or one can easily get there by taxi or minivans.

US-War-Memorial
US War Memorial

Many uninhabited islands, and twenty inhabited, dot Marovo Lagoon—the world’s largest lagoon at 140 km.

dot Marovo Lagoon
dot Marovo Lagoon

This popular tourist attraction marks the spot where a young John F. Kennedy swam ashore when his PT boat was hit by a Japanese destroyer in 1943.

kennedy island
Kennedy Island

There are so many places that one can enjoy here in the Solomon Islands. I just mentioned a few of them.

Mini Agnes

How is it best to get in touch with you?

I can be reached through the following:

Ronnie Isip
Tel : +677 21112 / 21115
Mob : +677 883 7909
Email: isipr@expressfreight.com.sb

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