Latin America: Part III

Cathy Roberson, an analyst with the London-based think tank Transport Intelligence, says “ocean is still the key,” for U.S. shippers in Latin America

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Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a three-part feature.

Cathy Roberson, an analyst with the London-based think tank Transport Intelligence, says “ocean is still the key,” for U.S. shippers in Latin America.

“We don’t anticipate a shift to air for many manufacturers doing business there,” she says. “The road network in regions is so bad that shipments by air remain problematic and expensive.”

Like Jean-Paul Rodrigue, she agrees that new entrants in the market will rely heavily on transshipment through Caribbean Triangle. This comprises a mix of hub-and-spoke network configurations as well as interlining between long-distance shipping routes. Furthermore, the advantages gained in terms of network interconnectivity and better use of ship assets outweigh the additional handling costs that transshipment entails.

Michael McDaid, who is charged with marketing, strategic planning & yield analysis, for Sea Star Line, LLC in Miami, notes that U.S. shippers currently doing business in the “triangle” are well poised to enter Latin America when they see opportunities there.

“Shippers already active in the Puerto Rico trade have a platform for going beyond the Caribbean into South America,” he says. “Sea Star
partners with its customers to find mutually beneficial expansion opportunities when possible.”

This type of collaboration is taking place on far larger scale within the framework of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and chief executive officer, says that the recently-concluded 22nd Annual Latin American Congress in Bogota, Columbia, focused on the mutual benefits of developing infrastructure.

“Increasing North-South trade can benefit not only ports, but the economic vitality, job opportunities and quality of life for people throughout the Western Hemisphere,” he says.

Similar to here in the U.S., the challenge for many Latin American ports is in how to be able to advance and fund needed infrastructure development projects, both in terms of port facilities and the connecting infrastructure on the land- and water-side, says Nagle.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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