Latin American trade with the Asia-Pacific region has grown at an average annual rate of 20 percent for more than a decade, according to the Asian Development Bank Institute.
During that period, trade between Latin America and the European Union has doubled to about $293 billion, according to the Latin Business Chronicle, although growth has slowed down and in 2012 Europe posted a trade surplus with Latin America for the first time as Europe’s economy stagnated and Latin American demand for European goods grew.
The Panama Canal expansion and demand for cold chain capabilities due to the export of perishable products are also pushing more trade in the region.
FedEx Trade Networks and IAG Cargo, among others, see the potential in Latin America and are adding resources there to support import and export activity.
FedEx’s freight forwarding and customs brokerage arm has recently broadened its service to trade lanes between Frankfurt, Germany, and Mexico (Mexico City and Guadalajara) and Brazil (São Paulo and Campinas); Hong Kong and Mexico (Mexico City and Guadalajara); and Dallas to Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.
Mexico and Brazil are strong markets for the automotive, aircraft and electronic industries.
FedEx’s service from Dallas includes a cross-border option by truck.
This summer, IAG Cargo, the cargo business created following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo four years ago, plans to significantly boost its Latin America network by launching a new route into Colombia from its hub in Madrid and reopening its route into Havana, Cuba. Both routes will be serviced by Airbus A330s.
IAG said it expects to carry flowers and fruits from Cali and Medellin and imports of goods such as books and clothes. Cuban cigars are expected to be among the main exports out of Havana, while imports should comprise perishable and mechanical goods. Havana is also an important stopover for the transshipment of goods such as flowers, fruits and textiles, the carrier said.
In addition, IAG on April 1 increased the number of flights it offers to and from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from five flights a week to daily, effective April 1. Fruit and vegetables are among the country’s key exports.
This article was published in the May 2015 issue of American Shipper.