The Business Year

Rodrigo Jalil

COSTA RICA - Transport

Truly Propelling

Central American and Caribbean CEO, DHL


Rodrigo Jalil is the CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Central America and the Caribbean. Leading a team with more than 1,300 people, his primary responsibility is general management of DHL Global Forwarding’s business operations within the sub-region. In his previous role as Managing Director at DHL Global Forwarding Argentina, Jalil was headquartered in Buenos Aires. He joined DHL in 2007 and has more than 15 years’ experience in the logistics industry. Jalil is Chilean, holds a BA in commercial engineering, a BA in business and administration, and has completed the Senior Executive Program at IESE Business School.

The new terminal at Moí­n will help national leaders become regional ones and regional ones become global.

How would you evaluate the current state of the sector, and where are the biggest opportunities for growth in Costa Rica?

In terms of size, Costa Rica is large compared to the other Central American markets. It has the largest life sciences and medical devices assembly and production center in all of Central America, and it is one of the largest in Latin America. For a logistics company, this is extremely interesting, because these trade centers require a great deal of expertise in delivering spare parts and assembly parts. Additionally, we have to know how to support local manufacturers in different local logistics processes and properly handle a device as it is delivered to its final destination with the proper distribution procedures.

How do you see the port in Moí­n changing the trade dynamics of Costa Rica and the region, particularly Panama?

It will be a major change for several reasons. One has to do with digitalization, as we will be able to enter and engage in a more digital environment. Additionally, the facility in Moí­n has a standardized and automatic process. The terminal will increase the efficiency of the space and enable greater competiveness for exporters while supporting the import process.

How do you see Costa Rica becoming a logistics and redistribution hub for the entire Central American and Caribbean region?

Costa Rica has all the potential to become a larger sub-regional hub. The warehousing landscape has been growing and improving. In Costa Rica, there is excellent quality in terms of logistics infrastructure. There is interest from certain companies in investing in logistics complexes, and local companies have realized that if they have not made such investments, they need to go with an excellent provider with great service and infrastructure.

What has been DHL’s experience in the market?

We have been in the country for 41 years. We have a consolidated brand and have more than 1,300 people in Central America. In Costa Rica alone, we have more than 600 people. We are by far the market leader in all of Central America. When it comes to international road freight, we are also a main player. In ocean freight, we can be top five depending on the country. DHL is a global company; however, we also have local companies providing different services in local markets. We have an extremely robust business model. We grow and manage our business based on our expertise in different sectors. Second, we work based on developing strong relationships with customers. Third, we invest in thinking about the long term and sustainability. We have a presence in six Central American countries with our own operational facilities, personnel, and systems. We operate our entire core business with the same or similar standards that we utilize around the globe. In Central America, we also provide end-to-end solutions, including airfreight, ocean freight, warehousing, and distribution. We are the largest customs broker in most of the countries we operate in. We are extremely strong in the transactional portion of the business, though we are most focused on providing end-to-end solutions within a highly digitized environment to long-term clients. We are one step ahead in digitalization and automation compared to our competitors.

What does DHL’s decision to tender more trade lanes mean for the company, and how are you working with partners in the region and Central America?

Internally, we have two pillars. Our global presence, brand reputation, and well-structured procedures cater perfectly to the multinational companies with specific supply chain operations. These are medium- to long-term relationships with customers that are seeking more complex, multi-country solutions. The other pillar is promoting the trading development of SMEs. DHL works in different business environments.



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