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REGIONAL REPORTMEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA


Passing through


When Siemens needed to move a 250-tonne transformer from the port of Rio Haina to the Julio Sauri substation near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Daco Heavy Lift stepped up. Preparation began with a road survey, which indicated that many bridges would


well as a severe lack of maintenance of existing networks and facilities. Martin Roest, vice president of Daco


Heavy Lift in Guatemala, pointed out: “It is especially difficult to transport heavy loads in mountainous countries, such as Costa Rica and Guatemala. More often than not, bridges need to be bypassed and heavy rainfall [combined with lack of maintenance] causes severe damage to the roads. “For example, last year we transported a


70-tonne nacelle from Puerto Limon to Liberia (Costa Rica) and had to bypass a damaged bridge by passing through the river in a privately owned sugarcane farm.”


Weight limits In Guatemala, meanwhile, the main road from Santo Tomas de Castilla to Guatemala City is subject to a 50-tonne weight limit. “Any load over 50 tonnes requires bracing of damaged and/or old bridges. Supporting bridges on this route has been routine for more than ten years now,” Roest noted. Customs clearance is another headache


for project cargo deliveries in Guatemala – and, indeed, across Central America. Extensive preparation is required, sometimes weeks or even months before the arrival of a vessel. Roest said: “Customs brokers in the


region do not have much experience with project logistics and have a very limited understanding of the impact some ‘normal’ delays may have; many industrial projects have suffered huge losses due to issues with Customs. Almost 100 percent of these losses are due to lack of preparation, and a lack of professional and timely advice on Customs issues.”


www.heavyliftpfi.com


need serious civil works lasting several months and costing millions of dollars. Daco then undertook an aerial survey to find other options, and found a potential place to cross the river (pictured). “Passing through the river was much more simple than it looks. We studied the


soil of the river and the result was that this part was extremely firm and no significant work was needed,” said Martin Roest, vice president of the company.


The project logistics market in Central


America has had its ups and downs. Guatemala experienced a boom a few years ago when the state tendered approximately 700 MW of energy contracts resulting in the construction of various power plants (including coal, wind and hydro). In parallel with these, a large state-of-the-art cement plant was built. All of these projects have (almost) been completed – so there a re only a few large industrial projects in the pipeline for the short term. Roest continued: “Some political


instability and a severe lack of legal certainty in Guatemala mean that both foreign and local investment in large industrial projects is low. The mining industry and hydroelectric plant developers are cautious about investing further in Guatemala.” Nicaragua has a similar story to tell: an


economic boom some years ago led to significant investment, especially in wind energy and power distribution, and kept Daco very busy for a time. But: “Nowadays, due to the political situation and the economic climate, we only do a fraction of what we did before in Nicaragua,” Roest explained. On the other hand, El Salvador has gone


Customs brokers in the region do not have much experience with project logistics and have a very limited understanding of the impact some ‘normal’ delays may have. –Martin Roest, Daco Heavy Lift


through a profound economic crisis in the last eight years and is recovering slowly. The situation in Honduras is following the same pattern and both of these countries are proving to be growing sources of work for logistics companies like Daco.


Healthy orderbook Roest said that although Daco’s biggest market (Guatemala) is “a bit slow” at the moment, the company’s orderbook for the rest of the year is looking quite full with projects in the Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Panama and Surinam. “Apart from larger projects, we expect


more and more smaller projects and a growing day-to day business in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.” Overall, he described growth in the


Central American and Caribbean project logistics market over the last 15 years as “significant”. This is taking place against a backdrop of general economic growth across the region, in spite of continuous political changes and legal uncertainty. In addition, the middle class is growing, creating opportunities for business not directly related to large industrial projects and/or power generation. For example, Roest highlighted


opportunities in the cement, paper, beer and bottling industries, as well as gas storage plants – all of which relate more directly to consumption by the population. In Mexico, DHL’s Gantier said:


“Currently, both the oil and gas and the aerospace industries are instrumental for our Industrial Projects business. The former remains one of our main focuses, while the


May/June 2019 55


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