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The Central American Group: Hello and welcome to another episode of a series of podcasts that are recorded and produced by the Central American Group. We have conversations with people that have experience doing business in the region, whether they be in manufacturing or whether they be in logistics. For instance, we talk about free zones and other economic issues that pertain to Central America today. We’re going to be a little bit more global in our discussion today, however. Mr. Ivan Vallejo is with us today. He is the executive director of an organization called Multiport. One of the Central American Group members is associated with Multiport. Grupo Maritimo in El Salvador is a member of the Multiport network.
I’d like to welcome Ivan to our podcast today. Ivan, how are you?
Ivan Vallejo: Thanks for this opportunity to speak on this podcast in order to explain to introduce your audience to the Multiport group. Thank you very much for the invitation.
The Central American Group: Can you tell us a little bit about your organization?
Multiport is a network that was created back in 1978 in Holland, Netherlands, As of today, it has been in existence for more than 40 years. It is an association of Independent Ship Agents with one exclusive member in each country. This is with the exception of nations (such as the United States) in which we have two members one for each coast, east and west.
And as I have already mentioned, we exist to promote the interests of our members. We have 120 countries represented in the world that have contributed 116 members. In Salvador, our exclusive member is the Central American Group company, Grupo Maritimo.
The Central American Group: Can you tell us some of the criteria that you use when you’re deciding which companies in each individual country to associate with?
Ivan Vallejo: Well, we follow a stringent process for scrutinizing those organizations that wish to become new members. We focus not only on financial criteria but also examine their track record and reputation in the industry. All of the members we have on board, are historically very solid companies that have been in business for quite a long time. We can afford to incorporate new members into our membership base because of the prestige that our organization has earned in the industry.
Grupo Maritimo from the Central American Group meets our standards completely and we are happy to have this company join us.
Central American Group: You work with a very large membership. It’s a truly global membership and group and Central America is a part of it. What is the strength that you bring to the Independent Ship Agents that choose to work with you?
Ivan Vallejo: I would say that our main purpose and primary goal is to promote the interest of each of our individual members. This is the two-way street, however, when we discover opportunities in any given country. In addition to that, we engage in promotion and other commercial efforts. We put together marketing trips and provide cross-business referrals between our members that are in different countries. This is an additional and important source of business generation for four members. Our main concern is to add value for our members and their clients, while, at the same time, protecting the interests of both.
The Central American Group: Can you give an example related to what you just described to us? What are some examples of success that you’ve had in working with your members?
Well, we have we are working with very niche sectors like husbandry, where we recently signed a contract with a Philippines shipping company to manage crew changes for this company. We are working very strongly, particularly in El Salvador, doing things that are related to oil and gas with Grupo Maritimo but, at the moment, I can’t disclose all of the names behind these initiatives. We will give details at the right moment.
The Central American Group: Please inform us when you concretize those deals. Of course. In addition to things that you’ve already done, what kind of future plans does your Multiport have?
Ivan Vallejo: Well, we are working on our three-year strategic plan to be presented at our organization’s meeting this month. In the document, we have set up the fundamentals and the pillars of our strategy over the next three years. The main idea is to increase our footprint in different markets and in different segments within the shipping industry. We have a very good, but very challenging, three years coming ahead.
The Central American Group: You have El Salvador covered through your relationship with Grupo Maritimo. What other countries in Central America do you have associations with?
Ivan Vallejo: Yes, we have. We have a relationship in Nicaragua with a company called Griffin and are present in the other countries in the region.
Central American Group: Some of our listeners may wish to ask you further questions about Multiport. Can they get into contact with you? If yes, how can they reach you?
Ivan Vallejo: Yes, of course, I encourage your listeners to contact me.
The Central American Group: Do you have an email address for those people who have an interest in Multiport to use? We often generate a lot of questions from our listeners and, typically, we put them in touch directly through email or maybe a LinkedIn profile. I can link to your LinkedIn profile. Do you have an email address that you could give out so that people could contact you if they have any questions to ask?
Ivan Vallejo: I would say that they can address inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Central American Group: OK. And I want to thank you very much today for being with us. We wish you the best of luck in your relationship with them all and all of your other members.
Ivan Vallejo: Thank you very much. Have a great day.
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