How would you describe DHL's performance in Colombia in 2018?
DHL in Colombia belongs to Deutsche Post Group, which has a presence in 220 countries. We have different business divisions such as cargo, storage, and courier. For us, it is extremely important to understand the needs of the local market and the way we connect through our service to contribute to the development of international trade. Colombia is a market with great opportunities for growth and is increasingly oriented to the international market, which is part of our mission. In Colombia, there are important opportunities in different industries such as the SME segment; more than 90% of companies in Colombia are SMEs, and they have a strong contribution in GDP and exports. With that in mind, we created a program called Pymexporta, which has a team of executives prepared to advise the client who wants to go to the international market. The service includes advice regarding tariffs, paperwork, packaging, and any other aspect to make a Colombian product successful on the international market. Colombian coffee growers are full of opportunities for a decree that allows exporting coffee in smaller quantities. DHL created another program called Pymexporta café to cater them and help them develop their opportunities. Another important segment within Colombia is e-commerce, and Colombia aspires to become the biggest Latin American country in this sector. For DHL, this is a great opportunity. The traditional retail-business model in which a consumer goes to a store to buy is changing. Some companies are already born under the electronic business model, while others are developing to incorporate both models. We have focused on the logistics of e-commerce to be able to provide our customers and their customers with the best shopping experience. Another relevant aspect is the US. More than 45% of courier business in Colombia is related to the US market. Earlier in 2018, we incorporated a new flight with a 767-400 aircraft that has a capacity of 50 tons. Through this, we can connect with the US in 24 hours. At DHL, we are pleased to know that we are accompanying the sector of the Colombian economy that is highly relevant in the US. In the global economy, time is critical and being able to connect a product sample or a spare part for a final consumer in the shortest time possible means an opportunity for growth. To that end, DHL has invested in assuring the market that it can connect with the US as quickly and safely as possible.
What role does Colombia have in DHL's regional and global portfolios?
Latin America is an important market for DHL, and Colombia is one of the largest markets within the region. Our approaches in Colombia are supported with investments that we have been making in the last 10 years. Our fleet includes vehicles that seek to reduce the carbon footprint—the company has seven electric vehicles and plans to incorporate more in 2019. Similarly, we invested in systems and technologies to streamline procedures and invested in training our international advisers to understand global trade and our customers clearly. To focus on growth, we must focus on investing, and we have invested around EUR17 million. During the last nine years, we have connected the needs of the client with the evolution of our services to spur Colombia's international growth.
What particular challenges does DHL face in Colombia?
The challenge is to make the process to go to the international market simpler. DHL works closely with the authorities and is respectful of local legislation. One of the challenges is to connect with the world in the fastest way; that is why we incorporated the aforementioned flight. For example, the flower sector has greatly benefited from it. We travel overnight and are able to quickly deliver products with a short shelf life.