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Antonio Dominguez, Area Managing Director of Maersk

PANAMA - Transport

Antonio Dominguez

Area Managing Director, Maersk


Antonio Dominguez is a Panamanian-born professional of over 25 years of experience in the logistics industry with positions across North America, Asia, Europe, and extensively across Latin America. Mr. Dominguez holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Economics at the University of Kansas as Fulbright Scholar and MBA in Business and Marketing at ULACIT plus executive courses in logistics and leadership at the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Business School – Lausanne Switzerland. He is currently in charge of looking after the 27 countries that form the Maersk Central America & Caribbean organization after a successful tenure leading the East Coast of South America from 2014 to 2019. He is a frequent speaker at regional forums on maritime business, supply chain logistics, leadership, education, and environmental initiatives, and an analyst for multiple global media outlets on logistics, sustainability, and economics.

“Panama has been positioned for several years among our top global transshipment hubs, and it continues to gain importance to our global logistics strategy.”

Antonio Dominguez, Area Managing Director of Maersk, spoke to TBY about Maersk’s presence in Panama, quality of service, and sustainable initiatives in the sector.

What value does Maersk bring to Panama with its global presence?

Antonio Dominguez: Panama has been positioned for several years among our top global transshipment hubs, and it continues to gain importance for our global logistics strategy. We decided to establish in Panama our Ocean Customer Logistics operations center overseeing our entire network and the reliability of our services from Alaska down to Tierra del Fuego. In terms of air freight, Panama offers the Hub of the Americas which solidifies the importance of the country not only for the movement of passengers but also as a critical link to the movement of cargo facilitating even opportunities for sea-air or air-sea operations and our customers keep asking us for solutions to their air and lcl needs. Furthermore, with the growing importance of near sourcing created by companies trying to diversify origins of production and de-risk their supply, Panama has also gained importance as it is perceived as the ideal location, not only for normal logistics operation such as repackaging or relabeling, but also as a place for light manufacturing which we confirm to all our global customers looking for further information and ideas to increase resilience of their end-to-end operations. We have always believed that Panama has a great deal to add to the logistics sector, not only in terms of handling the cargo but adding value to the entire sector and we have seen that vision flourishing despite the challenges created by the COVID -19 pandemic. For example, sectors such as electronics and automotive found in Panama a perfect answer to their news of warehousing and regional distribution of spare parts. When there is a shortage of spare parts or components as we have seen during the pandemic, our customers look for one location to quick access to different ways of transportation, great port and air connectivity, availability of labor and logistics knowledge and Panama was the one location that delivered on all those requirements.

What strategy did Maersk follow to become diversified and maintain the quality of its services?

Antonio Dominguez: First and above all, we listened to and acted upon the feedback of our customers. We want to literally walk on our customers shoes, understand their needs and challenges, develop tailored solutions based on those evolving needs and become obsessed with ensuring that each of our brands in the market, Hamburg Sud, Sealand, Twill, Maersk, build long lasting relationship with our customers. Our decision to offer long term contracts instead of pricing shipments every week according to market rates was a tangible proof point of what is most important to us. As a result, we created jobs during the pandemic. Globally, we went from 60,000 collaborators to 100,000 in two years thru organic growth but also by acquiring companies so that we could quickly offer the services our customers were requesting. We acquired companies in Europe, Asia and in North America, answering needs for additional e-commerce capabilities, warehousing distribution, customs clearance, intermodal and air services. We acquired recently LF Logistics, a large Chinese logistics operator, which provided us with great insight on how to do business across Asia and the ability to apply those experiences, processes and systems all over the world. In Europe, we acquired Senator International which complemented the operations of Maersk Air Freight Cargo including the operations of Senator across Latin America and at the same time expanded our own fleet of 17 air freighters by ordering six more planes. We have been also expanding our business in e-commerce and have acquired Visible, B2C, and Pilot. These companies are in North America and Europe and are experts in both small and large e-commerce couriers. Whatever a customer asks us for, we have a company with the expertise. For example, a customer here asked us to set up an operation in Panama to supply all Latin America. This customer wanted to bring in cargo by sea and then ship it out via air. We have set this up and are also working on a reverse operation as well, bringing in items by air and shipping via sea cargo. Another business for example involves bringing in refrigerated containers from Peru to Panama, and from here we fly out the cargo to Hong Kong and Japan.

What is the role of methanol in the future of logistics, and what sustainable initiatives is Maersk fostering?

Antonio Dominguez: Our motto is “ALL THE WAY,” and that way of thinking and acting extends to taking care of our planet. To take care of our planet we believe that the time to act is now. This is the only home we have, and we need to take care of it. Back in 2018, we announced our decision not to buy new vessels until we were able to answer the question about non fossil sources of energy to propel container ships. We do not believe in transitional sources of energy as we aspire for a permanent clean energy solution, so we created the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping and invested millions of dollars and several years of tests and into solar energy, wind energy, ethanol, methanol, ammonia, and so on. We concluded that technology is available to make the transition to clean energy now and that the solution is found within methanol, ethanol, alcohol, and ammonia. We ordered initially 12 vessels propelled by methanol last year and 6 more this year. The vessels will be available in 2024 and have a nominal capacity above 16,000 TEUs. Every single vessel requires 45,000 tons of methanol; however, there was no one company producing methanol in such quantities when the initial order was placed but one year after we ordered the 12 vessels, we have seven companies contracted to sell us methanol. The best thing is that we are asking those companies to use green methanol. We do not want methanol coming from sugar cane or corn; we want those produced from waste. We also want production of methanol to be end-to-end sustainable; when they are producing methanol for us, they are using solar or wind energy so no fossil fuel at all and zero emissions of CO2. As part of our efforts to protect the planet and the environment and live our purpose of “Improving Life for All by integrating the World” we are supporting the efforts of the European nonprofit organization, the Ocean Cleanup who is developing and scaling technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. We are actively supporting their objective to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the middle of the Pacific and also intercepting plastic in rivers before the reach the oceans. That is how committed we are when it comes to taking care of our planet. When one is a leader, you need to set a direction and take risks. You also need to share your knowledge and support others with similar objectives. Maersk created a company called Maersk Growth to identify and support startups with great ideas, new technologies an no access to funding. For us, it is fantastic that we can be exposed to all these new ideas via Maersk Growth—we want to invest in talent and the planet.



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