Freight industry players concerned over rising prices
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
FREIGHT industry players are scrambling to remain competitive amid rising prices and weak demand due to Brunei's limited market.
The demand for freight services tends to fluctuate depending on the seasons, a trend that weighs on the growth of the sector, said a member of the Brunei Freight Association (Brufa).
He said that due to the small market in Brunei, demand for general consumer goods is also small, which translates to low demand in freight services.
It is only during festive seasons, such as New Year's and Aidilfitri that Brunei's freight industry would see more business, he said. Business would just slow down during normal working days, he said.
"The development of freighters is dependent on the development of the industry here," he said.
But the official said players can look forward to steadier business as big projects like the Shell Sungai Liang Park are expected to spur demand for freight services.
Players are also concerned about rising prices.
Members, he said, are looking at Malaysia's move to hike fuel prices by 40 per cent last week. The issue has become more of a concern as the prices of other goods had also gone up.
Brunei is vulnerable to a price surge in consumable goods because it is dependent on imported goods, a reliable source from Brufa said.
With the increase in bunkering surcharge, freight services have also become more costly, pressuring players to keep the costs of freights services competitive, or enough to survive.
According to a source at express delivery services firm TNT, although flights and vessels are constantly coming into the country, some measures have been taken by freight industry players to ensure business remains strong. These include diversifying services and ensuring operations are cost-effective. They also try to provide services with a personal touch.
Most of Brunei's freights mainly come from Singapore and Malaysia. More goods also come from China, especially electronics and other general consumable goods.
The Brunei Times