Supply chain solutions provider Quick Reliable, bus company Ceres, and e-commerce and logistics company Xend Business Solutions have signed a partnership agreement to bolster cargo delivery and e-commerce in the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The partnership will create a new company, Xend Logistics Inc., to start operations by end-August, Quick Reliable president Emerito Ilagan told PortCalls after the signing ceremony.
The partnership aims to bring down logistics costs, maximize the potential of buses as cargo handlers, and boost e-commerce in support of economic development in the southern part of the country.
At the signing ceremony, Ilagan, said the partnership was formed while “looking for a way to customize delivery.”
Quick Reliable is probably the first in the country to utilize bus bellies and reconfigured buses to deliver less-than-container load shipments. These buses are then transported to various parts of the country via roll-on/roll-off vessels, which Ilagan noted usually sail faster than cargo liners.
The partnership with Ceres, Ilagan noted, will expand the scope of such service since the bus company accounts for around 85% of the market share in southern Philippines.
Ceres has a strong 48-year presence in Visayas and Mindanao, and has hubs in Batangas City and in all major cities in the south.
Ceres chief finance officer and director Ma. Lourdes Celina Lopez, in a speech in behalf of CEO Leo Rey V. Yanson, said the partnership will address the booming logistics needs driven by the country’s economic growth.
Land travel a viable option
“This business of transporting goods via land travel will serve also as another viable option aside from air and sea transport. By utilizing land transport, we will be able to provide a very competitive price and the prompt arrival of the goods to their respective destinations,” Yanson said.
The partnership is not limited to buses, Ilagan noted, as other assets such as trucks can also be utilized for heavier cargoes.
Quick Reliable, which counts Germalin Forwarding, Philtranco, Jam Liner, and Fastcat operator Archipelago Philippine Ferries among its partners, is expected to bring its innovative services and comprehensive delivery network into the deal.
Ceres and Xend will provide the assets, while the latter will also cover front-line and end-line applications.
Xend chief executive officer Bjorn Pardo, in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of the event, said the partnership will enable the company to offer its full range of services nationwide.
Xend has 13 years’ experience in the e-commerce and last-mile logistics industry but has been limited operationally to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
According to Pardo, “the biggest pain point” for e-commerce is shipping, as it is inconvenient and expensive. He added that the capacity of airlines and shipping lines can also be limited, especially during peak seasons when airlines run out of space for cargoes.
Pardo said these limitations will be a problem if not fixed, considering the current growth of the e-commerce industry.
He added that while logistics services are available in the Visayas and Mindanao, most are expensive. With the partnership with Ceres and Quick Reliable, Pardo said they will be bringing to the regions the affordable and convenient services they are providing in Metro Manila.
“We want to activate the millions of people who want to participate in e-commerce but just don’t have the tools to do so. And we’re trying to revive all of these tools, whether it be Xend’s technology, whether it be the reach of Ceres, or whether it be the operational expertise of Quick,” said Pardo.
“You’re going to see goods being transported all over the country back and forth. Because right now you see a lot that are going outbound, from Manila to the provinces…but from Visayas and Mindanao, inbound to Manila or other provinces, that’s what we want to help increase,” he added.
Both Pardo and Ilagan said the services under the new partnership are expected to create a “big bang” and be a “game-changer” in the logistics industry with their cheaper costs compared to the usual courier companies with a wider reach. Ilagan noted that other courier companies are already loading with Quick since they can offer lower prices using their bus cargo service.
According to Ilagan, operational information such as terminal schedules and loading capacities has already been gathered.
“We already started brainstorming five months ago. We have the concept already. It’s a matter of just trying to pinpoint the target areas that we’re going to start with,” Ilagan said. – Audrey Joyce Bajo