Colombia 2015 | TRANSPORT | COLUMN

TBY talks to Liborio Cuellar, General Manager of Hamburg Süd Colombia, on imports and exports.

Liborio Cuellar

Are you noticing any particular new import/export dynamics in Colombia? How do you anticipate this change over the next few years given the free trade agreements?

Statistically speaking, based on container volume, we see that Colombia still imports largely from China with the second origin market being the US. Imports from the US have grown since the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) in 2014 by 5%. However, we see that dynamic import growth continues to come from Asia with China, Korea and India rising by over 17% this year. We also continue to see the strong dynamics of Colombia's imports from its regional neighbors. In 2014 after China and the US, the three leading markets are Mexico, Chile, and Brazil.

How significantly will the state's infrastructural 4G program help to increase your exports and reduce costs?

To move a container 1,000km in Colombia costs about $2.50 per kilometer. If you were to move that same container the same 1,000km anywhere in the world, Mexico, the US, Europe, it comes out to about $1.00 per kilometer: Colombia is paying over twice as much for transportation as other countries. The Colombian government's 4G program will significantly improve the competitiveness of its exports as road transportation and costs will improve, as well as other investments in river transportation and train transportation.