One of the largest logistics and courier services companies in the world. UPS is strongly committed to the Colombian market. Exports and health care, keys in the expansion.
The tasks of transport, storage, distribution and, in general, all activities associated with logistics matters are a fundamental part of the success of any company.
An international company with more than 100 years of history has established itself as one of the most important in this industry in the world and has been strengthening its presence in Colombia. This is UPS (United Parcel Service), which has three decades of work in the Colombian market.
UPS is a firm that sold $61,000 million worldwide in 2016 and in the first quarter of this year had already reached sales of US $15,000 million.
Logistics and Messaging Market on Rise
The company began working directly from Colombia (previously through a representative) and centralized the administrative, financial and sales and customer management operations in Bogotá. From here the markets of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are also served.
The firm’s most recent commitment to the country was the facilities built in the San Diego logistics park in the town of Funza in the center of the country. From there they hope to consolidate a package of comprehensive services for the needs of companies that produce medicines and medical devices.
According to Francisco J. Ricaurte, general director for Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia of UPS, this line of business for the company is strong in most of the 200 countries where it operates. In Colombia, with these facilities, the contract logistics segment is strengthened, which implies offering storage and storage services for inventory management and distribution processes. In other markets, in addition to pharmaceuticals, these facilities are offered for high tech companies that have these needs. In other countries, they also offer services for high-end retail companies and for contracts with governments.
Initially, the investment in the facilities of the San Diego park focuses on health care, medications and medical devices.
The engineering works in these new facilities began at the end of 2015 and in November 2016 the works were completed. The launch of the new project took place last May.
“This implies a huge benefit for our clients in this area (which includes the most important medicine laboratories in the world) because in Colombia there were no providers of these services with a global network that applies the same standards in all the countries where it operates ”, Explains Ricaurte.
This basically means that the same laboratory can ask UPS to pick up a product in any country in Europe or in the United States and put it in these new facilities in Colombia, which implies not only guaranteeing safe and efficient transport but all procedures customs and other associated logistics management of
So far, if a Local transport company wanted to bring imported medicines from any region, it had to develop too many operations, starting with hiring registration land transport in the country of origin, customs procedures, shipping and storage with different agents. “Now, just hire those services with us and we take care of the entire operation,” adds Ricaurte.
UPS currently has these facilities also in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
Obviously, the core of the business for UPS is package messaging. In Colombia, the firm started 30 years ago with a local agent, TG Express. But five years ago they changed and today they only outsource register the collection of parcels and local deliveries. For this, it has the services of the Colombian firm Deprisa.
By offering such services, these types of companies are a good thermometer on how foreign trade behaves in the countries where they operate.
Ricaurte points out that Colombia’s export trend has been increasing, although the figures are not yet exorbitant.
UPS counts among its client’s shipments from Colombia abroad to a large part of the flower producers and exporters.
“In Colombia, our services for export are leveraged in perishables,” he says and explains that the trend that is being seen in certain non-traditional products that are winning overseas markets is interesting. He highlighted, for example, plant stems, aromatic herbs, buffalo cheese and fresh fish.
The other two aspects that make up the UPS service portfolio are freight forwarding, or freight forwarding, and air cargo transportation. These two fronts also show good results, according to Ricaurte.
“We see in Colombia a country that has stability and has had decades of sustained economic growth, with an important population,” he says. In the case of facilities focused on pharmaceutical products, Ricaurte explained that Colombia is a country where medicines will have greater demand, for two reasons. First, because the elderly portal population has been growing significantly, and this type of user demands more medicines. The second sign in aspect is that they see Colombia as an important destination for medical tourism Sign Up. That explains the expansion of Funza’s facilities.
“In general I see the future of Colombia with a lot of optimism and the history of UPS here, the same. In 2016 we grew to one digit and this year we expect to grow to two digits, ”says the director.
Ensures that the increase in the price of the dollar is the factor that has most changed the balance since the devaluation of the peso encourages exports and hits imports; Regarding this last aspect, it is worth noting that the import of high-tech products has been affected since bringing this type of equipment is more expensive today than two years ago.
UPS’s commitment to centralize its operations in Bogotá for five years and to invest in new facilities to offer services for the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies shows how far the country is going. It is a move “just in time.”
Colombia vs. Other Economies
Francisco Ricaurte is in charge of UPS operations in the economies of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. This gives a broad perspective on what happens with the productive apparatus of those countries.
According to him, Colombia is the largest and strongest economy in this group of countries. Although it is clear that there is still a need to improve road infrastructure and make some other investments in modernizing Colombian airports and ports. He emphasizes that, in the matter of customs, the country has been improving services. Ecuador, although it is a smaller economy, is strong, because it exports many perishables, which means business opportunities for UPS. In Peru, the devaluation has struck, as in Colombia, import rates. While in Bolivia, UPS still operates through an agent and the cargo unit has a representative.
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