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Getting Creative with Cargo

By Amado Blanco |

As Net-Works has expanded within the Philippines, we’ve faced a number of new challenges… one of these was how can we lower the costs of transporting the nets to Cebu.

A key feature of Net-Works is that it is built around a sustainable business model. Net-Works does not rely on philanthropy or grants… the business is run from the proceeds that it generates. Rather than a charity, it’s an enterprise, a social enterprise.

Transportation of the nets from the collection hubs to Cebu, is a important cost that is built into our Net-Works business model…  alongside baling, export, staff and other costs. These elements are deducted from the proceeds Net-Works receives for the nets with as much value as possible passed on to the communities we work with.

The more we can reduce the transport and other costs, over time, the more of the proceeds from the nets that we can give back to the communities to be added as savings – see Local Savings for Local People and A visit to Sag’s communtiy bank

Last year we expanded to our second Philippines hub in the Bantayan island group (Bantayan)… on the north-west tip of the province of Cebu. This was double the distance than Danajon Bank had been. So we needed to be cleverer with how we transported the baled nets to the container ship port of Cebu, for onward shipping to yarn producer Aquafil.

A great place to start was seeking to utilize a truck’s backload, or dead-run. When something has been delivered, there’s often an empty truck heading back to a depot… which is where the savvy entrepreneur can look to utilise this journey and empty capacity to save costs.

In areas where you have regular trade, there’s usually a way to find cheaper ways to transport the nets. For our expansion in Bantayan, the answer was these trucks. The trucks that usually take chicken feed and building materials (for repairs post Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) had an empty backload which we could use to transport our Net-Works nets.

The two trucks that took our fourth shipment of 10.3T from Bantayan to Cebu, had delivered a load of coconut lumber and building materials to Bantayan first…. before heading back with the nets to Cebu. Once our nets were delivered in Cebu, the trucks headed straight back to the state of Leyte to pick up more building materials to take to Bantayan.

It’s a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit of Net-Works, to think like a business and be entrepreneurial in finding ways to best benefit the communities we work with and tackle the problem of discarded fishing nets.

Amado Blanco is our Project Manager (Net-Works) at ZSL-Philippines

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