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COLOMBIA - Transport

Juan Pablo Ospina

President, Coremar

Bio

Juan Pablo Ospina is President Grupo Coremar. He is a mechanical engineer from the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín, Colombia, with more than 25 years of experience in the distribution, marketing, transportation, logistics, and regulation of the hydrocarbons and biofuels sector. He has been a member of the boards of directors of Oleoducto de los Llanos Orientales, Oleoducto Bicentenario (OBC), Oleoducto Central de Colombia, and Ocensa. He is currently President of the Board of Directors of ANDI Sectional Atlantic and Magdalena, a member of the Steering Committee of Probarranquilla, and a member of the board of directors of Palermo Sociedad Portuaria, and Coltugs.

“The longevity of a company spanning over six decades demonstrates its steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and its responsiveness to evolving environmental issues.”
TBY talks to Juan Pablo Ospina, President of Coremar, about Colombia’s development, bespoke logistics solutions, and priorities for 2023.
How did Coremar establish itself as a logistics leader in Colombia and the Caribbean region, and what measures has the company taken to maintain that position over time?

If we were to compare the company’s current strategy to its strategy five years from now, we would see significant changes, reflecting the evolving business landscape. Coremar’s success stems in part from its commitment to doing things the right way, even if it is not always the easiest route. Another crucial aspect is its people and the cohesive work team that drives the organization forward. Finally, technical business skills, particularly in logistics, are critical to the company’s long-term feasibility and have been embedded into the company’s DNA. The board of directors recently made the decision to continue investing in the country, as evidenced by a USD20-million investment to extend our pier and attract more cargo through the Port Society among other projects. This investment will be accompanied by real estate development in the area, including a 30-ha free zone and a 25-ha industrial park. Rather than following a one-dimensional business model, the company is focused on integrating multiple elements such as customer needs, customs regimes, industrial parks, and logistics through ports to create a comprehensive project. In summary, Coremar’s success is due to its adaptability, commitment to doing things right, people-focused approach, and technical business skills. The company’s latest investment underscores its continued confidence in the country and its dedication to creating a comprehensive business ecosystem that will deliver long-term growth and prosperity.

How does Coremar leverage technology to improve its efficiency and competitiveness in the market?

It can be said that the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for digital transformation, propelling businesses years ahead in terms of connectivity and technology. The impact of this on the global economy has been profound, with companies investing in digital solutions to improve efficiency and streamline operations. For example, our organization took the decision to employ software for the application of our logistics, which has led to greater efficiency and breaking records in all our operations. We have dedicated significant resources to this project, with a team focused solely on its completion by 1Q2024. We hope this will help us overcome our current deficiencies and make better use of data. It is also worth noting that our organization is committed to promoting positive change in Colombia, and we have implemented various initiatives and programs to research and support the country’s growth.

Can you provide examples of how Coremar has contributed to the growth and development of Colombia?

The longevity of a company spanning over six decades demonstrates its steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and its responsiveness to evolving environmental issues. Similarly, a foundation focused on the growth and development of children attests to our unwavering dedication to uplifting the next generation; however, in light of the pandemic and the need for social management, this foundation has embarked on a 10-year plan for social transformation of the territory. This well-structured plan entails specific objectives, with the first being the construction of a SENA headquarters in the territory. Through a five-year contract with the National Learning Service (SENA), this foundation seeks to provide the necessary support for a community that requires assistance in accessing opportunities. Moreover, this foundation is collaborating with SENA to facilitate its own business initiatives while supporting structural and statute programs. It intends to lend support to a sewing business and train suppliers to enable access to the community. The ultimate goal is for Palermo´s surrounding community to achieve self-sufficiency in a decade’s time. While acknowledging that assistance is currently required, the foundation has identified projects for early childhood education and aqueduct and sewerage resources, among others, that can contribute to this goal. The positive impact that this foundation has made on the territory thus far is only a prelude to its vision of total transformation. This transformation is not only what the municipality needs today, but also what Colombia requires to progress.

Can you provide some examples of the industries and the companies that Coremar serves and how the company’s logistics solutions are tailored to meet the needs of these industries?

In the past two years, our company has shifted its business model toward providing a more comprehensive logistical service covering the entire service chain. Through our logistic services we work with diverse industries, from foods (oils, grains), to infrastructure (Steel, projects), to Oil & Gas, Our focus on reducing our carbon footprint has led us to use the river for transporting goods instead of trucks, resulting in a reduction of up to 50% in carbon emissions, adapting to the requirements of our Energy business customers. We have extended our free trade zone areas to better accommodate our customers in the petrochemicals business. We have also adopted biofuels and alternative fuel sources to further minimize our impact on the environment. Our app enables customers to market their products directly from our port, and our tugboat services support inbound and outbound shipments. We strive to deliver customized solutions that add value to our customers’ operations while also prioritizing our commitment to sustainability.

What specific steps has Coremar taken to reduce its carbon footprint and promote ecofriendly business practices?

We are committed to delivering commercial proposals with carbon reduction commitments and have several initiatives in progress. We have planted 40 hectares of mangrove and tropical dry forest in the last 3 years in the Salamanca Park to reduce carbon footprint and being part of the restauration of this National Park. . In addition, we are engaging in the use of solar panels to generate relatively clean energy and are transforming our company to adapt to the growing potential for wind in Colombia. By the end of this year we expect to play a key role in the first ever effort from a major in executing a neutral carbon footprint logistics operation from the origin port to the last mile delivery to service stations in Colombia for hydrocarbons, this will become a critical landmark for the industry. It´s important to mention that we are working on an innovation project that involves trapping carbon in rock to reduce CO2 emissions from trucks that transport goods by the yards of the terminal., Finally, others initiative that we have been working are the zero operational waste project and the implementation of techniques to fuel consumption for loading equipment. Our commitment to the environment is unwavering, and we continue to take measures to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainability.

What are your priorities for 2023?

In 2022, we revamped our strategy with a plan spanning four to eight months. To ensure we stay on track, we have identified five crucial tasks that require our attention. Although some adjustments may be necessary, we will continue to prioritize our well-being and strive to uphold ethical standards, environmental responsibility, and respect for all individuals. Our ultimate goal is to make a positive impact as we venture toward the future.

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