SUCCESS STORY

Panama 2017 | TRANSPORT & MARITIME | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Miguel A. Lohse Muñoz, Operations Manager of Intercoastal Marine Inc. (IMI), on the new development opportunities in the country, developing business in the energy segment, and regional growth potential.

Miguel A. Lohse Muñoz
BIOGRAPHY
Chilean national Miguel A. Lohse Muñoz is a civil engineer with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Santiago in Chile. He obtained a master’s in industrial economics at Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft in Germany. He developed his career in Chile with construction companies Contex and Belfi prior to joining Salfacorp, from where he was later selected for the position of Operations Manager at IMI, in addition to Bid and Equipment Manager. His specializations include maritime, lacustrine, and fluvial works in the mining, fishing, forestry, oil, and energy sectors, among others.

How would you define the main trends emerging within the Panamanian maritime sector?

Today in Panama, we see modernization efforts underway at practically every maritime terminal. The modernization and/or expansion of the terminals is associated with the servicing of vessels expected to call on our ports as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal. We also see infrastructure renovations due in certain terminals that are reaching the end of their useful lives. Finally, the construction of Minera Panama, the largest private project in Panama, is currently underway. This investment and pole of development will have a positive impact on the economic development of the country. This includes the construction of a marine terminal for the loading of copper concentrate—to be exported to various global markets—and the unloading of coal to generate electricity at the project's thermoelectric plant. These new development opportunities in the country go hand-in-hand with maritime infrastructure developments of the first order. IMI is present in such emblematic projects.

How is IMI committed to the development of Panama and the regional maritime sector?

IMI is 100% Panamanian, with its base of operations in Panama, from where we manage and operate our local projects and projects throughout the region. Our commitment to the maritime sector is to contribute our knowledge and technology in the development of each engineering and construction project, applying knowledge and techniques using the most advanced methodologies at the global level. Our company is dynamic, flexible, and fully committed to the development of the country.

In 2016 IMI constructed the first Automatic Stacking Crane system in Latin America at MIT. What is the importance of this project?

This project, executed for MIT, is the first automatic crane system in Latin America. With this, Panama is the forerunner in the utilization of cutting-edge technology that in the years ahead will be applied in all terminals in the region. IMI is recognized for being a company of high technical capacity and is part of a company group comprising Salfacorp and Conconcreto that is publicly traded, to which end we follow strict financing rules and regulations. Being able to tie together all of IMI's experience in Central America, the knowledge and experience of our associate companies in South America, and our presence at a global level in markets in Asia and North America enables our company to have a technical and management capacity of the first order.

What is the importance of the energy segment in the expansion of your operation in Panama?

IMI has placed emphasis on developing business in this area. We are currently developing the design and construction of a maritime terminal for the unloading of LPG in the Dominican Republic. Our associate companies are firms where most of their construction experience is in the area of energy. Adding this to our own experience allows us to develop successful projects alongside both our clients and our associates. Our company is currently analyzing engineering and construction proposals for GNL projects and other energy types in Panama and throughout the Central American and Caribbean regions.

Where does the company see growth potential, not only in Panama but also within the region?

As part of our expansion plan, we are currently looking at various countries in the region, such as the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, among others. IMI has the capacity to cover operations over various regions, which gives us the opportunity to analyze projects in South America such as Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador.

What are your targets, ambitions, and goals that the company has set for 2017?

Our upcoming goals are to continue working closely with our clients as we continue developing our work and we finalize our projects successfully and, above all, with zero accidents. In the medium term, we seek to continue expanding our operations to other countries in the region. On another note, we hope to incorporate additional high-tech equipment, which will further diversify our engineering and construction capabilities.