FREIGHT

Costa Rica 2019 | TRANSPORT | B2B

Costa Rica's new deepwater port in Moín is set to change Central America's logistics dynamics, and freight companies see a great opportunity to make Costa Rica a major logistics hub.

Jose Mario Quinteros
JOSE MARIO QUINTEROS
Central America and Mexico Sales Director
Crowley
Aubrey de Young
AUBREY DE YOUNG
CEO
AMEGA Holdings (Barbados) Inc. Americas Gateway Development Corporation (AMEGA)

Can you elaborate on the company's approach to business in the region?

JOSE MARIO QUINTEROS Crowley works on a complete regional approach. We have warehousing services in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, and from 2019 Costa Rica. We understand and adapt to the particular needs of each market whilst at the same time looking for integrated solutions for the region when it comes to, for example, land transport and customs brokerage, which includes paying taxes and warehousing services. We are a logistics company that owns a shipping company, which is a differentiating factor for us. We are also the owners of warehousing, port operations, and containers; therefore, we seek to manage costs and provide savings and synergy to the market through vertical integration. We seek to provide integrated solutions rather than just selling the movement of a container port-to-port or door-to-door. We add value-added services at both ends of the container journey such as customs brokerage, insurance, delivery, and consolidation. It is a new way of pricing that can be measured by total landed cost or a vendor management matrix.

What are the advantages of having projects like AMEGA in the country?

AUBREY DE YOUNG The project is geared toward international transshipment; in essence, we complement the Panama Canal. A group of shipping lines sought a new regional transshipment spot in a region where the transshipment market was growing at 11-12% 10 years ago and continues to grow in line with the global economy. We hope to complement the work of APMT and make Costa Rica and Moín a major logistics hub. We approached APM Terminals years ago to figure out how we could work together and get involved in proper contingencies. AMEGA is a different company, and we can build through consensus an opportunity that will help everyone in Moín and Limón. We are looking at 1,000-plus jobs during operation. When we factor in indirect jobs and the employees' dependent families, we will support about 30,000 people. It is a matter of how we look at and do things and how we can make a difference.

What are your next projects and future plans?

JMQ In September 2018, we started to use larger ships for our Costa Rica liner service. On the logistics side, we are introducing more integrated solutions with our new EDI platforms. We see ourselves as a leader in Central America as a logistics provider. Our excellent relationships with large accounts make it easier for us to open the door to the other services we have in place. Investments are definitely coming up in terms of providing more warehousing services and containers for our intra-Central American service. We are also entering into more alliances; we now have a partnership with a strong company in China that previously did not serve Central America. This alliance has opened up opportunities globally, and we have a great deal of work to do. We are extremely excited about this development. The Central American region is definitely growing, and we need to connect it and be a facilitator for more Central American business. We intend to focus on Costa Rica in 2019 as well.

How will you market AMEGA to the international business community?

AY Everyone understands AMEGA's place in the international market. We are developing the project with a strategic partner and will likely have a second strategic partner, a major shipping line, in the operational phase. We have also worked with the US Department of Homeland Security and are obtaining the necessary accreditation. My role is to make sure we combine the changes in Costa Rica with the international requirements and transfer that back. I cannot overstate how important it is to be consistent, present, and respectful, as it took us years to get to the point where we were able to bring them in. As we operate internationally, everyone knows who is on the board. We are absolutely unique in terms of how we approach things, and our challenge now is to bring the international and Costa Rican communities together and have the company achieve a paradigm shift in growth in the next six months.