New initiative supports local NT business

Sea Swift's ground-breaking Market Connect Program has helped a Northern Territory remote business enterprise kick major goals in 2018.

Manapan Furniture is part of the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) Group, and is owned and operated by Yolngu, the Indigenous people who have lived in Arnhem Land for over 50,000 years.

As part of the Market Connect Program, Sea Swift provides Manapan Furniture with highly-subsidised backload rates from Milingimbi to Darwin for all completed furniture pieces, and assists with the onforwarding to southern markets.

Additionally, as keen supporters of Manapan Furniture, Sea Swift has purchased several pieces of furniture hand-made by craftsmen of the Milingimbi community, and continues to promote business to Manapan Furniture using its networks.

Sea Swift Chief Executive Officer Fred White said Market Connect provides logistics advice, logistics management, and discounted freight costs support to new or emerging businesses across northern Australia, and is the first of its kind in the region.

"Manapan Furniture is a great example of how Market Connect can work for local northern Australia businesses," said Mr White.

"It is a unique Australian furniture company, set up to develop skills and employment and a place where exquisite hand-made furniture is produced from its base in Milingimbi.

"Sea Swift can vouch for the superb quality of Manapan Furniture, with two new Board tables in both our Cairns and Darwin Board rooms - beautifully hand-made by Manapan Furniture.

“We know that operating in northern Australia is challenging, but it is a remarkable place filled with wonderful people and cultures, and amazing possibilities and opportunities.

“At Sea Swift, we work hard to keep the communities of northern Australia connected, so we can all prosper and grow, as shown in our support of businesses like Manapan Furniture.

“We’ve established the Market Connect Program to help local businesses such as Manapan Furniture get off the ground and be successful in what they want to do.”

Manapan is now making serious noises in the Australian furniture industry, and even recently featured in an episode of popular national TV show The Block.

Mr White said the Market Connect Program provides smaller businesses with support to assist them in reaching markets outside of their immediate area, and to help underpin the sustainability of their business.

“Sea Swift will also assist successful applicants in getting their products to their market of choice via network introductions,” he said.

“We’re passionate about growing northern Australia and improving the standard of living in the region.

“We connect remote communities and foster economic development by providing a safe, reliable service, with pride.

“We live and work in a unique part of the world, and our aim is to promote this and make living in northern Australia easier by connecting our diverse cultures.”

All Market Connect Program applications will be assessed on set criteria, including how the business case, activity, or project will assist northern Australia to prosper and grow.

Interested organisations can apply for the Market Connect Program by completing the application form at   

Sea Swift is also looking for partners to deliver the Market Connect Program on a national and global scale, so it can provide end-to-end logistic assistance.

If you are a logistics provider who is interested in seeing northern Australia prosper and grow, and want emerging businesses to succeed, please call Sea Swift on 1800 424 422 or email email/marketconnect)(

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