Freight company takes lateral view

A PERTH-based international freight company servicing the mining industry is touting for extra business from humanitarian aid agencies and developing nations.

Supply Direct WA general manager Mr Stephen Armstrong confirmed the company’s strategic move into tendering for humanitarian aid business would boost contract revenue and expand the company’s profile as an international promoter of local businesses.

Not willing to put a figure on the value of such contracts, Mr Armstrong nonetheless said Supply Direct had a good relationship with humanitarian aid organisations and had supplied a variety of emergency equipment to AusAID, Care Australia and United Nations agencies.

This relationship had developed over seven years of handling freight operations for sponsoring mining companies supplying humanitarian aid to local West African communities.

“We often have a warehouse full of cots and medical equipment,” Mr Armstrong said.

“The companies have an arrangement with Perth hospitals and we package the equipment.”

This week, Supply Direct, in association with Bike Force, is delivering 100 bicycles to the East Timor Transitional Administration for use by the East Timor Police Force.

Custom-made frames, thorn-proof tyres and reflective police stickers were some of the specifications for the $48,000 contract, which Mr Armstrong described as an opportunity for local companies to taste international success.

“We’ve basically facilitated the supply of Bike Force bicycles into East Timor,” he said. “We can open up the world to small Perth businesses.”

Bike Force Myaree proprietor Mr Graeme Shaw said his involvement in the venture came about by chance, with Mr Armstrong purchasing a bicycle from his business last year.

“We never set out seeking international exposure,” Mr Shaw said. “But when the tender opportunity came across Mr Armstrong’s desk he immediately thought of me.”

“We don’t usually sell that quantity to one individual, but I thought we’ll try anything once. Now I hope we can be involved again. It felt like Christmas, but without the forward planning.”

Supply Direct would maintain its primary focus as a packaging, insurance and freight service for mining companies in Australasia, the South Pacific, Africa and Europe, Mr Armstrong said.

The company has recently introduced an e-based ordering system, whereby customers can initiate, process and track purchases and deliveries online.

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