The time is right to move into the digital trading world


Australian digital fruit and vegetable wholesale market HiveXchange believes there has never been a more important time for growers and buyers to invest in diversification of their supply chains, to better use technology to deliver their product more efficiently.

“There is significant disruption happening in fresh supply chains, driven by changes in consumer demand, in trade agreements, political instability in some major markets like South Africa, and climate change,” CEO Antonio Palanca said. “As those changes roll through, the HiveXchange offers buyers a way to get more control by finding and sourcing direct relationships with Australian suppliers.”

The HiveXchange last year expanded into the Asian market and over the last quarter, Australian producers have used the platform to ship mangoes, melons, grapes, broccoli, and avocado to buyers in Asia. It consolidates purchases into single airfreight containers and quality checks them prior to shipment, allowing Asian buyers to make purchases from a number of Australian suppliers and get one invoice covering multiple suppliers and the shipping costs.

Hive Exchange Produce - The Time is Right for Digital Trading

The first bulk shipments by sea to buyers in Asia are also being made, focusing on grapes, citrus and avocado. Mr Palanca says these supply relationships are built directly with the producer and introduce a much shorter supply chain with all the benefits that come with it.

“This digital bridge between Asian buyers and Australian suppliers is also information rich,” he said. “Retail buyers are beginning to use real provenance information about Australian farms to sell the benefits of fresh picked produce to their consumers. The feedback has been great, with fresher produce that is clearly different from the competition, complemented with stories about the producer.”

The company’s mission is to use the power of the internet to bring selected commercial buyers as close as possible to Australian fresh fruit and vegetable producers. Asian buyers in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan are now building a new kind of direct sourcing channel in Australia, gaining direct access to over 100 Australian suppliers of fresh produce, from their phone or desktop. Mr Palanca says the HiveXchange is a wholesale digital marketplace with a few key differences.

“We only allow high quality certified producers and suppliers to enter the marketplace,” he said. “Everything a buyer see’s in the market can be ordered with confidence about standards compliance, quality, and freshness. Secondly, all of the suppliers in our market provide digital stories that buyers can use in their sales and marketing. We allow buyers to make promises to their consumers and then deliver on the promise through fresh and short supply chains. Finally, commercial buyers are also vetted to ensure they meet the standards of our trading practices.”

He adds the key to trust is understanding who you are dealing with, having confidence that what is offered will be delivered, and having the administration and contracting tools to allow you to execute trades and manage issues. When Asian buyers come into the digital marketplace, he says they will only ever see offers from export ready suppliers.

“We only ever introduce buyers into our marketplace that can pay on time and agree to our terms of trade,” Mr Palanca said. “We opened an office in Asia so we can meet with all of our Asian buyers face to face. Having that account management, allows us to invest in forming the right relationships in the right way. Promises underpin our marketplace, and are always made transparently and offers are strictly private between the buyer and seller. The buyer sees what they are paying direct from the supplier. There are no middle men – everything is visible. The HiveXchange has also introduced independent market price reporting to give buyers and sellers an understanding of what produce is being sold for in the different marketplaces in Australia. That is helping parties negotiate on fair terms where they can share the benefits of trading direct.”

Hive Exchange - The Time For Digital Trading Is Now

Another advantage of trading online, according to HiveXchange is its 24/7 operation, as by the time the wholesale markets close in Australia, buyers are just waking up in Asia.

“There is a 3 hour time difference between Australian and Asian markets,” the CEO said. “For Asian buyers being able to come into a digital marketplace that is national at any time is a big advantage. Buyers can see what has been happening with market prices, and then make selections and negotiate with the source of supply. Every interaction generates an audit trail on the platform, and there is never any confusion about what has been discussed, agreed, and purchased. The marketplace is open on any internet browser, so buyers can engage with it on their phone, tablet or desktop. Fresh produce markets move quickly and the HiveXchange frees people up from taking phone calls and chasing up deals.”

Buyers and sellers can find each other in a number of ways through HiveXchange. Buyers can make requests into the market place describing what they want. Those requests are sent to the appropriate suppliers capable of meeting the requirement, but it is the suppliers who choose who to make offers to, at what price.

“When buyers come into the market place, they only ever see offers that have been made specifically for them,” Mr Palanca said. “So when a buyer registers, they must also outline what they are interested in. A buyer only ever sees offers that have been made for them. When suppliers make offers, they get access to a buyer directory.”

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