CERTIFIED FOR BUSINESS

Costa Rica 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Boasting some of the best people, systems, and infrastructure, ILG has established itself as a key go-to for investors and regional operators looking for a leg-up in every part of the country.

Mauricio Bruce Jiménez
BIOGRAPHY
Mauricio Bruce Jiménez is the CEO and founder of ILG Logistics Group. He has worked in 18 different companies in eight countries dealing with logistics and international trade. He is also Board Vice President and founder of Improsa Financial Group Costa Rica. He holds a BS in business administration from the University of Costa Rica and an MBA from INCAE.

What can Costa Rica do to improve its trade and logistics sector?

We have done a great job regarding international trade. Costa Rica has opened its borders to the world, and international trade has boomed. At the moment, we have to resolve some of our domestic issues with regard to our fiscal deficit and debt. Only then can we invest more money in highways and infrastructure and thus attract more investment in manufacturing into Costa Rica. With foreign trade, we are not doing badly, especially with the sector that covers foreign-to-foreign transactions on free trade zones and on agriculture and services.

How can Costa Rica be a regional operational base for trade and logistics?

We are already in eight different countries, and our strategy has been to provide consistent service to our customers through systems and the best human resources available. We use our knowledge and experience to help our customers manage their logistics processes throughout Central America and part of the Caribbean. We are also doing supply chain management for companies in the Dominican Republic that use Costa Rica as the base to manage their regional operations. We have been focusing on companies with regional headquarters in Costa Rica that manage their logistics and supply chain throughout Central America.

How do you see the APM Terminal in Moín changing the trade dynamics of Costa Rica?

APM Terminals is one of the best things to happen to the country. We are now positioning our infrastructure with a world-class operator that will provide port facilities that can handle 8,000-10,000-TEU vessels. That should reduce ocean freight costs since Costa Rican exporters will no longer have to do transshipment anywhere else. The big ships will arrive in Limón and go on to Europe and Asia. This will reduce many of the inefficiencies that had effected our exports for a long time since the original German port project was inaugurated in 1982.

Can this success be replicated on the Pacific coast?

Caldera has been establishing the proper conditions to dredge the terminal and receive larger vessels. A new port would have to be built. At the moment, we have a great deal of trouble with swells in Caldera; sometimes we have four, five, or six ships waiting because the bad weather does not allow us to start discharging. With improved road infrastructure, we could move some cargo from Limón to Caldera and then ship it out to the Far East if we upgrade our port capacity.

What have been the main achievements and history of ILG Logistics?

We have had our milestones; however, what makes ILG stand out from the others is its strong corporate governance and financial statements. We have always managed our customer supply chain from a maritime transportation point of view. That has made us successful, because other logistics companies manage the supply chain from an air transportation point of view, and we have been able to tie up our main customer supply chain and solve some of their import and export procedural problems. The future will involve expanding beyond Central America and entering Colombia. We have opened an office in Bogotá and are keen to do more business in Colombia. Some customers have also asked us to provide services in Mexico, though we do not enter a market without having a customer to support there.

Why should investors looking to set up shop in Costa Rica work with you?

Because we have the best people, systems, and infrastructure. We strive to excel in everything we do and focus on our work and customer relationships, which is why I am extremely proud of ILG's customer portfolio. We have several of the top Fortune 500 companies doing business with us in Central America.

How do you ensure your share remain attractive?

To keep our shareholders satisfied, we run the company in a competent way and ensure we are always transparent. Our quarterly financials are published on our web page, and Fitch has rated our debt bonds A.