"The main service we provide to the steel industry is the transportation of steel from the United States used by manufacturing industries in Mexico to make finished products which we then transport back to the United States. Mexico has a program called IMMEX which allows companies to import raw materials and export finished goods without paying extra duties." - Ana Karla Garza
Looper provides multi-modal logistics solutions. Could you provide an overview of your capabilities and geographical reach?
PC: Looper is a 100 % Mexican logistics provider. We do a lot of inland and ocean freight and we can provide any kind of service for inland transportation and export and import. Kosmos, Looper’s sister company, provides the same services but in the United States.
AKG: Our main industry at the moment is automotive in both the United States and Mexico, working particularly with clients in the Laguna region, Monterrey, Mexico City and the Bajío region. We also move products for the food, construction and oil and gas industries and are already moving materials for the New International Airport for Mexico City. We provide a full range of logistics services and can handle all different types of containers. We are a relatively new company but are already well established, with clients such as Neapco, Takata, Mylsa, Korean automobile companies and fabricators like Perfiles y Herrajes.
Are you transporting any steel?
AKG: The main service we provide to the steel industry is the transportation of steel from the United States used by manufacturing industries in Mexico to make finished products which we then transport back to the United States. Mexico has a program called IMMEX which allows companies to import raw materials and export finished goods without paying extra duties. The automotive industry is growing very fast and it is demanding more of specialized steel produced in the United States. Nucor is producing much of the steel which the industry is buying.
We specialize in project cargo meaning big machines to entire production lines, which may require break-cargo services. Our main project is in this area is for Perfiles y Herrajes who fabricate steel in large amounts and are growing very fast. We also transport Mylsa’s baskets to the Federal Commission of Electricity and all the machines for the Neapco’s most recent plant located in Saltillo Coahuila Mexico.
Logistics costs in Mexico are twice as high as some other developed markets. How challenging is Mexico’s infrastructure to providing logistics services?
PC: It is quite challenging because of the cost of transportation. Petroleum is a high cost but labor is cheap which balances out the logistics costs somewhat. A key challenge is the condition of the highways, which can affect the time it takes to transport goods. This is problematic when we are committed to deliver goods from Monterrey to the US border in four hours, for example. The government must improve conditions of the roads. This was a major problem recently when the World Trade Bridge border crossing, the most used in Mexico, was damaged due to bad weather.
AKG: Costs are high compared to some other markets but the market is stable and the difference Looper provides is its service. Like every logistics company, we provide sea, inland an air transportation but unlike some other companies we are available 24/7. We are also constantly growing and improving our offering. All of our trucks have GPS and our clients can continuously see where there goods are through our online tracking system.
How has the new Mazatlán to Durango highway affected your business?
AKG: We have received many calls from the customs agency in the Port of Mazatlán asking us to incentivize our clients to use their port to import goods rather than the Port of Manzanillo. However, recently we analyzed the costs of shipping a container from China through both ports to Torreón and concluded that the cost of the Mazatlán route, despite being closer, was not very competitive. The dollars you save in inland freight using this port you spend on sea freight. Manzanillo’s container capacity is very saturated and containers can sometimes take three to four days to import but Mazatlán is still a minor port, although it is growing.
What is your vision for Looper in the future?
AKG: A year ago we opened our US company, Kosmos, in El Paso, Texas. Our sales team is continuously travelling to visit locations in Mexico and next year we would like to open a representative office in Bajío and Monterrey to take Looper to the next level.