FREE AND EASY

Costa Rica 2018 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Carlos Zacapa, Executive Director of the Green Park Free Zone, on its strategic decision to expand to Costa Rica, ensuring a sustainable business, and the importance of the human aspect.

 Carlos Zacapa
BIOGRAPHY
Carlos Zacapa is Executive Director of the Green Park Free Zone. Originally from El Salvador, he holds a degree in marketing. He has 20 years of experience in administering industrial development and free zones.

What motivated Grupo Guerrero to move to Costa Rica and start this project?

We have over 30 years of experience in free zone and industrial park developments. We started developing industrial parks in 1985 and are part of the group that supported the initiative of the private free zone law in El Salvador. We started developing our first free zone in El Salvador in 1990 and continued with the second one in 1998. We have about 60 companies in El Salvador working with us between the two of them and around 15,000 employees. We decided to come to Costa Rica as a strategic move, since El Salvador has developed more of the textile industry, regional distribution centers, and logistics, whereas Costa Rica has developed in a more technological way. We decided to move into a more sophisticated market to help us attract foreign investment in different sectors. We were deciding between Panama and Costa Rica, but decided to invest in the latter because we feel more comfortable with the manufacturing than the service industry. CINDE is another one of the reasons we came here and with whom we have been working for a couple of years.

How will this park help in the country's development and growth?

We are a vertically integrated company. We do all the land movement, construction, and everything that helps us deliver the final product at a better cost. We have more competitive prices than other class-A level parks; therefore, we can certainly help the competitiveness of Costa Rica. Our location is ideal, just five minutes away from an airport and close to other free zones in the most important industrial sector of the country. We have identified the types of investment coming into the country; one of them is a supplier-based industry for companies already established in Costa Rica. This will not be a huge park and will have around 56,000sqm. We are a flexible company that is important in this business. We are able to deliver buildings that have the flexibility to install different types of companies, no matter how large or small.

What kind of companies and sectors are you trying to attract to this park?

We specifically look at the life sciences, electronic, pharmaceutical, and logistic sectors. We already have a supplier for the medical industry and a pharmaceutical company coming in. Since we are close to other already established industries, suppliers can be based here and supply other parks in less than five minutes.

Why did you decide to make this park different in terms of sustainability?

That was always part of the plan. For us and the country, sustainability is part of the future; it is necessary that we support this initiative. In El Salvador, we have already implemented many green aspects. We produce solar energy in our roofs. In one of our free zones, 30% of total energy is solar-based. We want to make a difference in the present and future; we are not the same kind of free zone or industrial park you find elsewhere. Our motto is green, human, and reliable. The reliable part comes from our experience; however, the green and human parts are what make us different.

What sets this park apart from other free zones here?

We were born and are truly green; however, the human aspect is what makes the biggest difference. This is how we treat our clients: they are not just one more company inside the park. This is why this is not a huge park; when there is a manageable number of clients, things are easier to control, and we can serve their needs in a better way. This is more like a boutique free zone that it is more customized and personalized. Companies are part of the family here.