Our main objective is to create a large development center increasing our investment and employment opportunities. Over the last 10 years, we have invested close to USD200 million in both technology and infrastructure, as well as employment opportunities, creating 1,400 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs. Since our free trade zone is the biggest in Colombia, measuring 140ha, we want to focus on the needs of adjacent towns. In collaboration with the government, we have been working on sewers, drinking water, energy, and road infrastructure, improving the well-being of inhabitants. We are 8km from the city, 18km from the port, and 100km from Cartagena Port. We have a great logistical platform that helps us boost our exports. 2017 was extremely positive. We closed 10 deals: six in land negotiation and four in corporate real estate. We completed 2017 with 30 users; two years ago, we only had 13 users, which demonstrates the significant growth of the region, our free trade zone, and the free trade zones regime in Colombia. Furthermore, our import operations increased by 30% and our export operations increased about 32%; we are one of the free trade zones with higher growth rates in Colombia. We also had a 32% increase in income.
Manuel Herrera Luna
General Manager, Zona Franca La Cayena
Juan Carlos Vélez Madrid
General Manager, Zona Franca Zofiva
Zofiva International Free Zone is located in the south of Aburra Valley. We are a relatively young free zone, established in October 2012. We have three stages at the free zone; this first stage covers 20.7ha, and we will have 181 holdings. We will have around 80 companies, and most of these will be logistics operator companies and groups. We will have three important industrial districts: precious metals, automotive spare parts, and textiles, as this part of the country has developed the industry of fabrics and textiles. We will have a building where about 20 companies from the gold industry will establish, and there will be a gold refinery with a company from San Francisco. For medical cannabis, we will have two companies, one from Denver, US, and another from Canada. We have companies from Venezuela due to the political and economic situation there; they see many positive opportunities to establishing themselves here in Medellín. These companies work in cosmetics and food, among other sectors. In the free zone, the idea is not localization of companies here in Colombia; the idea is for new companies to enter. With the tax reform regarding income tax and VAT, we have the best opportunities in Colombia.
JuliAn AndrEs Quinceno
General Manager, Zona Franca Celpa
In 2014, we were just starting our development in the free zone. Today, we have investments exceeding USD15 million from Colombian and foreign investors, particularly Mexican companies that have made additional investments of USD18-20 million in infrastructure. In terms of our investment plan, we have USD9 million for 2018. We also expect to close deals of USD10 million with new companies entering the free zone. We have grown a great deal in infrastructure both in the free zone and its environs. Buenaventura currently has road infrastructure that connects to the interior of the country. There are completely different conditions that favor us, so much so that companies are interested in investing in the country. There are 18 companies that have invested in the free zone and eight companies that are operating in the free zone with import merchandise. These eight companies are currently building up their infrastructure. Cauca Valley has positioned itself as one of the most attractive points of Colombia. The best infrastructure is in Cauca Valley, which also has highly skilled labor, extremely competitive prices, and additional benefits for investors such as connectivity of public services, airports with international flights, the proximity of Buenaventura to the main port of the country, and so on.
Jorge Eduardo Cardona LaverdE
General Manager, Zona
Zona Franca Intexzona does not operate other free zones. Free Zone Bogotá has been in the market for a long time and operates 50-60% of other free zones, both permanent and special. We have concentrated on managing this free zone; our business model is to operate other free zones. We have links with the Río Negro free zone and Antioquia port free zone. We only share the inventory systems and sit on their boards of directors. Our difference lays in the occupation indexes of the Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial. Before the Decree 3600 of 2005, we prepared the building and urban planning license. This allowed us to have higher construction indices, with an average of 91%. In other areas, the construction index is 55%. This is an area of competitiveness and differentiation compared to other free zones or parks. Another strategy has been the industrial districts. We emerged as a cluster of the textile and clothing sectors; however, we did not have a free trade agreement with the US at that time. On the other hand, the life sciences sector successfully grew. In about five years, we can announce to the business sector that we have a cluster in this sector with about 220,000sqm fully operated allowing us to achieve greater competitiveness.
Eduard Hernan Mina
Director, Zona Franca del Cauca
This free trade zone was created in 2009, and the mission of free trade zone has been to work with companies that are committed to conduct several investments. The firms have successfully maintained high levels of investment to ensure that they will qualify within the free trade zone. There are 36 companies in Zona Franca del Cauca from different sectors. Approximately 24 of those are operating under the regime of free trade zone. Some companies in this area have the free trade zone regime, though there are others that do not. There are around four companies in our free trade zone that are international, while the rest are Colombian. Most of our companies are goods and services manufacturers. The portfolio is fairly broad. We are not focused on any particular sector as our free trade zone is diversified. The regime of free trade zones in itself is attractive. However, we are important for companies that want to sell products in Bogotá and those that want to export to the Pacific. Additionally, our costs are cheaper when compared to other free trade zones in the country. We also have a high-skilled workforce, because some of the best universities in Colombia are located in this area.
Juan Carlos Botero
CEO, Zona Franca del Pacifico
I came to Zona Franca del Pacifico in June 2015. There have been three major accomplishments since then. The first is that we signed an agreement in 2017 to expand the park by 15ha. The park now has 55ha, representing an expansion of 27%. The second is the attraction of four new investments to the park. We signed contracts with four new companies that will begin operations. One of these is a clothes designer, who has an operation here that produces dresses and exports to 20 countries, including the US, the UAE, and Europe. Another is one of the three largest ambulance assemblers in Europe. The latter is the first Spanish manufacturing company to operate in this free trade zone. The third investment is the first Chinese manufacturing company to begin operations in Colombia. It is a major world manufacturer, which produces around 5 million TV sets a year. The fourth company we attracted is a Spanish company from the Barcelona area, which manufactures metals. We also managed to re-certify the company under the ISO 9001 and ISO 28000 norms. This certifies that the company meets international standards in all of its processes and logistics. Currently, we have 48 companies from different sectors ranging from food and beverage to logistics and manufacturing.