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Challenges created during the coronavirus pandemic have forced the logistics sector in El Salvador to reinvent itself and look for alternatives to successfully meet the needs that the market demands. Among these has been adapting to an environment where consumers have changed their purchasing habits. This observation was recently made by Javier Ayala, president of the Salvadoran Association of Cargo and Freight Forwarding Agencies (ASAC).
The logistics sector in El Salvador has felt the effects of the pandemic
“The pandemic changed the way we operate in the world. There was a boom in electronic commerce. This disruption of normal activity changed the way we operate and adapt to restrictions. This economic activity has generated a significant increase in shipping activities,” Ayala said.
The ASAC executive also expressed that the consumption patterns that have recently developed are the product of the confinement of the population. In this circumstance, people repurpose money that would, under normal conditions, be dedicated to travel and other entertainment options to buy items that improve their homes and provide more technology. An economic environment driven by Ecommerce has required that the logistics sector in El Salvador reinvent itself.
For Raúl Saca, head of Logistics for the Americas Region of DP World, trade professionals must implement new strategies in the face of the challenges faced by the logistics sector in El Salvador to enable companies to operate on a global scale.
“It is not a problem that is focused on a single region but the whole world. Because of this reality, the logistics industry must focus on reducing and avoiding congestion at ports. In addition to this, a movement towards automating and streamlining the supply chain is necessary for making the industry more efficient,” Saca said.
For his part, Andrés Bolaños, cargo manager for Panama and Guatemala of United Airlines, assured that air cargo transport has increased in volume despite the challenges the sector has faced in recent times. Moreover, it has grown at higher rates than those registered before the pandemic.
“The cargo sector, in the case of United Airlines, has experienced an increase and has put the company firmly in the black. However, we are excited because we have become a viable option in reconfiguring the logistics sector throughout the region,” explained Bolaños.
A multi-modal approach is required
Bolaños went on to add the measures that the sector can assimilate, including the adoption of “multi-modalism.” “This is an unconventional option based on the use of different transportation alternatives (land, sea, and rail) that seek to provide the best alternatives when delivery times are paramount.”
The expert detailed that the increase in freight rates for the logistics sector in El Salvador, and Central America as a whole, have risen by as much as 35% in recent months.
To consider the best options and alternatives in the sector, the ASAC held the second edition of its Logistics Expo Congress this September 23. During the event, the ASAC proposed working jointly with public and private entities to improve delivery times and freight collection.
Due to current conditions, the Congress was held virtually and at no cost. Six experts in the logistics sector in El Salvador participated. These individuals addressed global logistics topics without neglecting the region and precisely how the pandemic has affected El Salvador.
Speakers included Pamela Ugaz of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade Negotiations and Trade Diplomacy Sub-Division. She spoke on trade facilitation with a focus on post-COVID-19 challenges.
“The pandemic has changed the way we operate in the world. Most noticeably, it caused a significant upswing in the volume of electronic commerce. Therefore, we had to change the way we operate and had to adapt to the restrictions that have been in place.” Because of the changing landscape in global trade, the logistics sector in El Salvador, and the region as a whole, has had to reinvent itself.
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