KEEP IT MOVING

Colombia 2014 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Alfredo Castellanos, General Manager of Pasar, on the Colombian logistics sector, the company's client portfolio, and plans for the coming year.

Alfredo Castellanos
BIOGRAPHY
Alfredo Castellanos studied Logistics and Consultative Selling at the Universidad Externado de Colombia and the Universidad de los Andes respectively, and has completed courses with Lufthansa and FedEx over his career. He has worked for a wide range of logistics companies and free trade zones in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. He has expertise in the management of customs, multimodal transport, and national and international courier processes.

Where did your story in the logistics market begin?

I started as a delivery boy in one of Colombia's main packaging and forwarding companies. This experience gave me the opportunity to discover the wonders of this industry. Within three years, I reached the Department Manager position. After several further professional experiences, I decided to go solo with Pasar, a company that first started operating without industry licenses, working basically on commission for other freight-forwarding companies in the sector. In 1978, we officially started as a customs agency, and in these 35 years we have grown tremendously. For example, when we knew that FedEx wanted to enter the Colombian market in 1993, we applied for the representation rights, securing them. As a result, we represented FedEx in Colombia and Ecuador for 18 years. Only after that period, did it decide to launch its own official business activity. TNT, a leading company in the industry in Europe and some sectors in Asia and with activities in over 200 countries, is another example of our growth story, since it came to us based on our reputation and prestige, offering us its representative duties in the country. That was in 2011, and since then we have invested significantly to make sure we grab a significant piece of the market. At the moment, we own 4.5% of the market and expect to reach a 9% share within the next seven years.

What have been the company's landmark achievements over these 35 years?

The main one has been to get to know, in detail, the Colombian market, as well as entering neighbouring markets such as Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. In this context, we have managed to consolidate our business activity and become a rather reputable international logistics and freight-forwarding company in Colombia. We have expanded the size of our operations to reach customs, storage facilities, fast packaging, road transportation, also within ports to facilitate the transportation of goods from and to Bogotá, express packaging, and air transport. Overall, we have become a provider of fully integrated logistics services in the country and the region, with good prospects to grow more on the international stage.

Who are Pasar's main clients?

We have a broad customer portfolio that includes corporate clients, manufacturers, industry-related companies, and clients from sectors including pharmaceuticals and commerce. Also, we are deeply involved in online commerce and the delivery of online purchased goods. This latter section enables us to better reach individual clients. According to the figures, in the corporate segment alone we have more than 4,000 clients, whereas in terms of individuals, this figure exceeds 10,000.

How would you characterize competition in the Colombian logistics industry?

Competition is rather strong in our sector in Colombia. Despite the fact that we are not an active player in the domestic market, I can say that Servientrega is a leading actor. We compete in the international market from Colombia, and TNT has strong competition in that segment. Our strength is to be able to offer competitive advantages to our clients. For example, we have better transit times and more flexibility than many other players in the industry. We have the strength of being an international company with domestic flexibility. However, we have to keep in mind that we are a rather new player in the sector, having entered the market two years ago with TNT.

What are the company's main goals for 2014?

We expect to reach over a 5% market share due to our hard-working sales force and by offering added value to our clients. We have vast experience of working under pressure and in line with international standards. Additionally, TNT is also undergoing an international campaign to further improve its services, and I believe we will manage to sustain growth in this demanding sector.