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Dominican Republic 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

A key factor of Marítima Dominicana's success is its ability to provide all the services that shipping airliners or global customers require.

Karsten H. Windeler
BIOGRAPHY
Originally from Bremen, Germany, Karsten H. Windeler founded Marítima Dominicana in Santo Domingo, DR, together with Gustavo A. Tavares E. operating as ship agent and shipbroker as well as stevedore in all Dominican ports. Since then, the company has evolved and offers integrated logistics solutions.

Can you tell us about plans to develop the Dominican Republic as a regional distribution hub?

Over the past two years, we were able to convince the government to create a legal structure, particularly for customs clearance, such that the Dominican Republican can become a distribution hub, both for local customers and the wider Caribbean region. The Dominican Republic enjoys the most efficient maritime and airline connections in the region, which makes it an ideal point of distribution for global customers. There are adequate facilities to accommodate maritime and airline operators, and we also have considerable warehousing space for allocation to cargo handling and distribution. This makes the country highly competitive in supply chain logistics, not only for cargo being brought here from the rest of the world, but also for that being produced locally for shipment to the US, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. Free zones have also grown significantly over the past few years in line with the infrastructure required to facilitate that growth. Last year alone, I saw a strong rise in the number of shipping companies and airlines entering the country, and today this is even more so the case; we are concretely on track to become the regional logistic hub for transportation and distribution.

How does Marítima Dominicana stand in comparison to other competitors?

The vital ingredient is our ability to provide all services that shipping airliners and global customers require, which means attending ships and airplanes in ports and airports and helping them with loading, discharging, customs clearance, local transportation, warehousing and local distribution, or reshipment to other destinations. This is what we call supply chain logistics, and it is one of the key components of our services. Over the past two years, we have increased the capacity of our warehouses at ports and airports to better provide these supply chain services, which is why we have gained an increasing number of global customers. Another asset is the digitalization process we have recently undergone. As a service provider for global customers in transportation and import/export operations, it is essential for us to connect all parties digitally, enabling customers to determine at any time where their products are being warehoused or transported, what the costs are, and what the inventory is.

What are the main markets of operations for the merchandise you handle?

The largest market for imports and exports remains the US, but we are developing additional markets for the export of agricultural products, particularly in Europe and the Caribbean. I see a real opportunity to efficiently develop the agricultural sector and expand its export reach.