How Small Scale Fishers are powering local fishing community amid COVID-19
Half a century ago, Filipino fishers relied on oil lamps and rope nets for the day’s catch. Those sailing out from the banks of Manila bay often got their supplies from husband-and-wife team Francisco and Mary Tan, whose fishing supplies store was well known in the Manila district of Binondo in the 1960s.
The couple saw the potential in offering advanced fishing tools to their local clientele. Better equipment meant better catch and better income. This vision led to the establishment of Scan Marine, Inc. in 1981, one of the first companies to import marine electronics, radar systems, and navigational instruments in the country.
Casting a Wider Net
The couple continued focusing on making the Philippines fishing industry more competitive. Looking for suppliers, they set their sights on a country with modern marine equipment: Japan. Specifically, they wanted to partner with Furuno Electric Co, Ltd-Japan – producers of the world’s ﬁrst practical ﬁsh ﬁnder for commercial use.
“Furuno was looking at neighboring countries with similar fishing capabilities. With our extensive connections and a clear vision to modernize, the partnership between Furuno and Scan Marine materialized,” shared Pelagio Nacionales, Scan Marine General Manager.
Having built a solid reputation within the local fishing community, Scan Marine was soon catering to customers in nearby provinces and expanded operations in different parts of the country.
“We were witness to how traditional fishing modernized,” recounted Nacionales. “We installed advanced fishing equipment in our clients’ vessels and trained their crews ourselves. We continue to enhance efficiencies in our local fishing companies through technology. Today, we have reached the seas of Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Palau in search of tuna.”
Scan Marine has been the sole distributor of Furuno Electric Co, Ltd-Japan in the Philippines for nearly four decades. To date, the company’s inventory of fishing equipment and products remains unmatched.
Providing Essential Support amid COVID-19
In the early weeks of the Luzon-wide community quarantine, many companies had to stop operations to help contain the spread of COVID-19. To fulfill the food requirements of Luzon, the Philippines government declared fishing an essential industry. Many of Scan Marine’s clients continued their operations to ensure adequate fish supply in the country.
Scan Marine adapted to “new normal” to maintain continuity and support the fishing companies while most of their personnel worked from home. With more orders pouring in, the order for Furuno equipment consistent.
No room for delay means strong logistics support
Possible backlogs brought on by the quarantine restrictions prompted Scan Marine, Inc. to find a logistics service provider who could properly and promptly transport a wide range of products ranging from small handheld radios to large navigational devices.
“We have two-week timelines to follow for every order. There is no room for delays,” explained Bernadeth Labay, Scan Marine Purchaser and Import Representative.
She added that working with FedEx helped ensure that their customers received their shipments on time. Labay also shared that their customers appreciate the tracking and monitoring tools available on the FedEx website that provide complete shipment details – from transit times to customs clearance status.
As the Scan Marine’s sole Import Representative, Labay needed to prioritize efficiency and costs. By managing paperwork through the FedEx International Air Waybill, she was able to save time and company resources.
“As a company with bulk shipments, we have to optimize the cost of shipping. With help from FedEx, our products were packaged and shipped in one go – a huge benefit in terms of efficiencies in handling high volumes. it helps us and our customers save on cost,” Labay concluded.
FedEx has been keeping commerce and packages moving throughout the pandemic and around the clock – to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are most vulnerable and have been adversely impacted. Despite COVID-19, SMEs in Asia remain the engine that will power growth in this new normal. FedEx remains agile and ready to facilitate SMEs growth locally and internationally.