Colombia’s progression after the impacts of COVID-19

July 15, 2021

Colombia is a diverse and vibrant country located in northwest South America. Sharing its borders with five countries: Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. It is the only South American country with two seacoasts, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, thus providing tactical shipping advantages to today’s global market. Steady economic growth and an improved security environment have made Colombia an appealing destination for exports and investment. However, similarly to other countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the country’s industry.

Recently Fabián Doncel, General Manager of Crane Worldwide Logistics Colombia, took part in our Café con Crane podcast series, where he delved into how Colombia is progressing after several months of adjustment due to the impact of the Coronavirus.Fabian Doncel

Fabián has an impressive background with over a decade of experience in logistics. He has taken part in all the different areas of the freight forwarding business, from operations and sales to special projects and upper management, either locally and overseas. Having been with Crane Worldwide for almost six years, he currently sits in a leading role in our Colombia location, managing an incredible 25-person team.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast interview.

Twenty-five employees make up our marvelous Crane Worldwide Logistics Colombia team. Tell me more about the team's structure.

Here at Crane Colombia, we have two offices. Our main office is located in Bogotá near the country’s main airport. We also have a satellite office in Cartagena, which is one of the country’s main ports. Both offices have the capacity to provide operational and commercial services here in Colombia. Crane Colombia oversees providing logistics services to neighboring countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru.  

How has the pandemic, Covid-19, impacted the logistics and distribution chain in Colombia? 

At first, the pandemic's effects on Colombia's logistics and distribution chains were restricted only to effects on a series of specific products such as foods, medical supplies, and medicines. Now that it has been almost a year since the pandemic's beginning in logistics terms, operations function the same way. However, what has seen a more drastic change is service delivery. There was an unexpected shift when we went from working at a company office to working from home. The pandemic eliminated that previous sense of normalcy and put people in a situation in which they must have the capability to deliver services remotely. Fortunately, here at Crane Colombia, we have solid communications systems, so for us, the transition to working from home was not drastic. We have seen an increase in productivity and are working on finding which actions we must take for our colleagues to make the natural and necessary distinction between work and personal time when working from home. View of Bogota  

Do you have any suggestions regarding importing and exporting from Colombia? 

To do any foreign trade operation, you need one of two things: either already know what the customs laws are or be advised by a group of companies or specialists in the field. Here at Crane Colombia, we provide importing and exporting companies with an advisory to ensure they are compliant with customs laws and are operating cost-efficiently. 

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge the Crane Worldwide Logistics Colombia team has faced, and how was it resolved? 

In Colombia, we are very well known in the oil industry. Many of our clients are from the oil field, which makes us very dependent on that market. The greatest challenge we’ve faced has been opening different verticals to expand and distance ourselves from the oil industry.

You can listen to the full podcast episode in Spanish here

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