How to choose a reliable coconut charcoal factory in Indonesia


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There are more than 30 coconut charcoal factories in Indonesia. How to choose the right one for your products? There are two main issues with charcoal factories: quality & production time. Basically, the first time order is usually best for quality, but the next order can become very different. 

Keeping good quality for charcoal is the biggest concern for all buyers. The problem is in the specification of coconut shells. Different batches of coconut shells bring different quality. For example, coconut shells from Sumatra make charcoal ash become browner. While coconut shells from North Sulawesi keep ash white. 

Quality of coconut charcoal also depends on the way of coconut shell drying and burning. If the coconut shell was dried under the sun up to 15% of moisture content. Then coconut shells burned with piroliz (ie without oxygen) – the quality will be good. But on the other hand, if shells were not dry enough and burned in the forest with oxygen – the charcoal will be low quality.

Young coconut shell is also not good for producing high-quality coconut charcoal. Only old sun-dried coconut shells are the best choice to make charcoal. One more important parameter that can influence charcoal quality – is mixing shells with soil and wood. Sometimes wood and soil can be mixed with charcoal shells while the process of burning (piroliz). 

To choose the right supplier you have to be sure that this charcoal factory has own coconut shell collection and piroliz process. If the charcoal factory buys coconut shells from other suppliers – quality can be different from batch to batch.

Having own coconut charcoal collection and piroliz also will help you to solve the second biggest problem – long production time. 

Coconut grows all year round in Indonesia, but sometimes it is difficult to find empty coconut shells in right time. Sometimes farmers throw away coconut shells or burn it too much. That is why the price of coconut charcoal changes almost every week. Supply & demand also exist in this business.

If a charcoal factory cannot find enough coconut shells for the orders they can delay production or mix coconut shells with wood charcoal. That is why some batches of coconut charcoal can be different from others.

To be sure that you choose the right supplier of coconut charcoal you should visit a) charcoal factory and b) coconut shells collection and piroliz facility. Usually, those places located in different islands of Indonesia. Make sure that all those facilities belong to one owner. It will ensure the constant quality supply of coconut charcoal. 

Another important notice on choosing a reliable supplier. Be sure that your supplier is a real factory and not a middleman. There are hundreds of so-called companies in Indonesia who claim that they own a charcoal factory. Do not believe them. 

Check all company documents. For the Indonesian company, you have to check Akte pendirian, TDP, NIB, NPWP. Check whose name is on the documents, when they are expired, what is the official location. Check if your sales manager name is written in those documents. Otherwise, you are dealing with a middleman.

Check Bill of lading and other shipping documents. Real coconut charcoal suppliers can show you a pile of shipping documents, proving their existence. Cross check B/L number with shipping lines (you can check it online). 

Hire an independent surveyor to check the loading process, the number of boxes with charcoal and make laboratory testing before shipping. You can use SGS or Intertek – they are pricey, but very professional and have a special SOP for charcoal testing.

Made written agreement with the charcoal factory on the quality settlement. Professional charcoal suppliers are usually ready to sign that kind of contract. Write down what is the penalty for every change in quality parameters of charcoal. For example, if ash is higher than 5% – supplier has to pay you back 2% from the invoice. Or if moisture is higher than 10% – goods are subjected to a discount of 10%. 

The safest way to protect you from unexpected quality change is to pay after you receive and check goods. If you know charcoal supplier well – you can agree with them to pay after you check the coconut charcoal quality at the destination. 


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