14 July, 2017, 12:00 am
ABOUT 26 years ago, a global logistics operator Bill Gibson saw an opportunity in Fiji’s emerging garment and textile industry to expand his operations.
Soon enough, Mr Gibson in 1991 opened his first facility in Nadi, expanding his Australia-based logistics company — Gibson Freight — in Fiji.
With foremost humble beginnings, Gibson Freight (Fiji) Ltd began its operations out of a small shop at the Tokatoka Resort, near the Nadi International Airport.
Over the years, the company has transformed and grown with Fiji’s garment and textile industry, and further enhancing Fiji’s status as a regional hub.
The company achieved a remarkable step in their journey on Wednesday night when they opened their new $1.6 million warehouse and office complex at the Kalabu Tax Free Zone in Valelevu.
This signified their strong growth locally, which was enabled through their partnership with long time partners Lyndhurst Group of Companies.
Reminiscing on their early beginnings in Fiji, Mr Gibson paid tribute to individuals who were involved in the growth of Gibson Freight, which he founded with his wife about 40 years ago.
“Through the garment industry in Australia from Asia, we became aware of the emerging garment industry in Fiji so we saw an opportunity so some 26 years ago we moved and acted upon that opportunity.
“We started our first facility in Fiji and it was a little shop in the Tokatoka Resort, just at the back of the airport.
“I know that because every night, a cane train would go past religiously, it woke me up and if that wasn’t happening, a 747 was landing.”
Mr Gibson said this strong growth in Fiji was backed by a committed team led by local management, something which they took pride in.
“We have moved forward from there, we have a big commitment to Fiji and have always admired Fiji and Fijians, having many friends here as 26 years is a long time to maintain friends,” he said.
Officiating at the opening of the complex, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Public Enterprise David Kolitagane said the event represented the most recent milestone in the 26-year history of Gibson Freight in Fiji.
“The contribution of Gibson Freight has contributed to enhancing Fiji’s status as a regional hub for transportation and transit,” he said.
“It also demonstrates the confidence shown by global operators in the Fijian economy.”
Mr Kolitagane said the Fijian garment industry had provided a vital base for Gibson Freight to secure and develop its presence in Fiji and at the same time using Fiji as a hub.
This, he said, consolidated Fiji’s hub status in making Fijian ports the most productive and efficient port in the region.
Company director Peter Gibson said the new complex and warehouse, which would feature 25 staff members, was a turnover facility and not a storage facility to support their existing export clients.
This would be complemented by their future plans of building another similar facility in Nadi.
“We also intend to use the facility to support our airport clients in fast distribution,” he said.
The company is also looking to assist its local export clients such as the garment industry in streamlining supply chain.
For import clients, the company is introducing a point to point import service from the United States to complement their existing one from China.
This would ensure a seamless transit of goods coming from China or US through Gibson Freight, greatly complementing their garment service industry and resort replenishment service.