(Panama City-ANPanama) The logistics sector will have better results for the second and third quarters of the year, compared to other activities of the economy, as a consequence of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Logistics Business Council COEL held its third webinar “Recovery of the logistics sector facing the new normality II” with the participation of José Alejandro Rojas, Minister Counselor for the Facilitation of Private Investment; David Hernández, Area Manager for Central America, Ecuador and Venezuela of the International Air Transport Association, IATA and Antonio Domínguez, General Manager of Maersk.
The logistics sector has made a key contribution in this time of emergency. It has moved cargo 24/7 to keep the logistics chain active, which has allowed vital products for this contingency not to suffer setbacks in their deliveries.
José Alejandro Rojas, Minister Counselor for Private Investment Facilitation, reiterated the National Government’s position to support the logistics gear that has maintained economic activity in the most difficult moments of the emergency.
“In this sense, we are working as a State to consolidate ourselves as the first COVID-19 free country in Latin America, seeking to reaffirm our position as the best center for business, investment, logistics, services and tourism, generating jobs and attracting talent. Potentiating itself in initiatives such as the Logistics Hub, Business Hub, Digital Hub, Health Hub, E-Commerce Hub and Value Generation Hub,” Minister Rojas said in his presentation.
In this sense, the logistics sector in consensus, asked Minister Rojas to work hard on the digitization of processes to avoid bureaucracy and corruption.
For his part, David Hernandez, Area Manager for Central America, Ecuador and Venezuela of the International Air Transport Association, IATA, stated that his sector is a catalyst for economic growth, however the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating.
“The number of daily flights worldwide was down 81% at the end of April, with 93% for Latin America and the Caribbean. This virtually grounded the entire industry with the exception of cargo operations and some domestic flights in the United States, Asia, and in Latin America in Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Airlines will suffer a global revenue loss of US$314 billion due to a 48% reduction in demand,” said Hernandez.
According to Antonio Dominguez, General Manager of Maersk, emerging economies in Asia are the only ones that will manage to escape a negative impact on their growth. “This has a lot to do with the changes in logistics, where we see that sources of production were taken out of China to other countries in Asia, which are now continuing to produce. Asia’s emerging economies will close the year with 1.2% growth,” he said.
According to official economic projections, the Panamanian logistics sector will be one of the least affected in the second and third quarters of the year. However, efforts must continue to make processes more efficient by implementing technological tools.
“We have all the infrastructure, capacity and connectivity conditions to successfully promote Panama as an important logistics option for multinational companies. However, one of the great challenges is to convert our manual processes into digital ones, for which we are working through the Government Innovation Authority,” reaffirmed Minister Rojas.
Panama will continue to have a privileged position despite the pandemic, so it is important that the industry remains strong for the good of the entire continent.
The main challenges for the logistics sector in this “new normal” involve understanding and implementing health measures or protocols to continue operating efficiently, in addition to executing a well-structured plan to reach all members of the chain.