ECUADOR - Transport
CEO, DP World Ecuador
Carlos Merino came from DP World in Peru, where he worked for two years in the business integration project DP World Paita. He has led other projects in the Americas region and was CEO of Terminales Portuario Euroandinos (TPE). He has 16 years of experience in business strategy in ports, terminals, and logistics. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College in the US, a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, and participated in the Trade X-Powering Growth program with DP World Hub.
DP World invested heavily in Ecuador to build a deep-water port and free zone in line with its bullish predictions for the country’s logistics sector.
How did the decision to invest in Ecuador fit within the history of DP World?
DP World determined that Ecuador was in need of a deep-water port. It also predicted developments in terms of the growth of vessels. By building a deep-water port, DP World not only helps the economy in terms of imports and exports but also increases the amount of cargo at the country level, attracting another type of cargo that was not seen before: transshipment. We have a logistics center in Durán, located 10 minutes from Guayaquil. We have a company that is a non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) that integrates the needs of the end customer with the capabilities that DP World has in the country. Gradually, we are meeting the needs of a BCO to get from end to end. We started the construction of the free zone and logistics park in December. If we tie up the concepts of transshipment and a free zone, the strategy is progressing well. Being able to convert those materials that can come here, not necessarily for the local industry, but through transshipment, makes the possibilities of transformation within this free zone more real. And the location of the port means that these finished products can go to another market.
What opportunities do you see for mining?
There are many opportunities, though large-scale mining is exported as bulk cargo. In the early stages of a mining industry, you will see many containers, as in the case of Puerto Bolívar in Ecuador. When there are already many millions of tons, they are normally specialized ports that export these minerals in bulk; however, today we are developing something that will last for many more years: container loading. We are also looking closely at bulk cargo. The capacities in Ecuador are not enough for the growth potential that the country will have, and we are looking closely at it.
What logistics products is DP World working more intensively on?
Less than two years ago, we built and put into operation the logistics center in Durán, which serves the banana industry in terms of container consolidation, where we have cross-docking within these facilities. At the same time, we have decentralized the empty container depot management part. We have a warehouse in Posorja and a warehouse in Durán. The NVOCC is the entry point for the client to request sea freight—and air freight to a smaller extent—and that helps us to get in contact with the client and add the other capacities that we have built or that we are currently building.
What can we expect from DP World in 2022 and 2023?
We are the terminal with the highest productivity as a port, with over 35 movements per hour per crane. Customer service is also quick. We are building a free zone, which was planned for a few years now, and we expect to complete its construction this year. The fact that a company as large as DP World decides to change its customer matrix, from shipping lines to cargo generators, is a huge deal. We are on a positive path, increasingly integrating what we have with other things that are coming, like DP World NVOCC and soon DP World Transportation. We want to integrate all capacities to offer clients a broader portfolio of services, which can be summed up in a single line: give them what they need. Companies like DP World not only have the infrastructure but can also trigger many more exports in terms of know-how and offering capacities to current and potential exporters of each developing country, as in the case of Ecuador. There are currently policies being developed in Ecuador to increase investments and form FTAs with countries. For years, DP World has believed that something positive was imminent in Ecuador. So, DP World’s bet has paid off, and the results we expected are bearing fruit.
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