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Borderlands: Quincus eyes growing Latin American e-commerce markets

Mexico’s e-commerce market was valued at $15.8 billion in 2020, an 81% increase over 2019, according to the Mexican Online Sales Association. Pictured is the U.S.-Mexico port of entry in Laredo, Texas. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Quincus eyes growing Latin American e-commerce markets; Watlow opens a manufacturing plant in Querétaro; Dimerco launches an Asia to Mexico freight service; and $4 million worth of methamphetamine is seized at the Laredo port of entry. 

Quincus eyes growing Latin American e-commerce markets

Aiming to tap into Latin America’s emerging tech infrastructure and e-commerce markets, supply chain optimization startup Quincus recently opened operations in Mexico and Colombia. 

With more than 300 million digital buyers in Latin America, there is a need for logistics solutions that can optimize middle-mile cross-border shipments in Latin American e-commerce, Quincus officials said. 

“I think we have a market that is very thirsty for new technologies, and we need to approach it really quickly because we have a big giant to the north, the United States, that is willing to do business,” Oscar Romero, Quincus’ head of Latin America growth, told FreightWaves.

Romero, who is based in Monterrey, Mexico, said the company’s technology provides solutions for the “first, middle and last mile.”

“By opening offices [in Latin America] we can give more opportunities to work with manufacturers — consumer packaged goods companies, fast-moving consumer goods companies — then moving into 3PLs, and definitely in e-commerce in complex scenarios to help the last-mile delivery,” Romero said.

Quincus was founded in 2014 by CEO Jonathan Savoir and Katherina Lacey, the company’s chief product officer. 

Singapore-headquartered Quincus is a software-as-a-service platform that optimizes, streamlines and automates logistics for end-to-end operations by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In September, Quincus announced it raised an undisclosed sum in the second close of its latest round of funding at a valuation of over $100 million. Company officials said they will use the funds to further their expansion into Latin America, as well as South Korea and Japan.

Romero said Quincus works with all modes of transportation, but the company’s “main focus is in ground transportation at the moment.”

“We’re increasing the capabilities and the visibility that we provide with our platform with new partners that are going to be more involved and it will give us more visibility on air transport and in ocean transport as well,” Romero said. 

Mexico’s e-commerce market was valued at $15.8 billion in 2020, an 81% increase over 2019, according to the Mexican Online Sales Association (AMVO). There were 50.7 million e-commerce users in Mexico in 2020, a 9% increase over 2019. 

AMVO predicts that Mexico could have over 77 million e-commerce users by 2025 due to improvements in connectivity, enhanced financial inclusion, streamlined logistics and increased digital literacy.

The e-commerce market in Colombia grew by 20% in 2021 to reach $18.8 billion, according to Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), a Florida-based business research and consulting firm. AMI said the e-commerce market in Colombia could reach $34.5 billion by the end of 2024.

Quincus will help facilitate as many as several 100,000 freight transactions per month in Latin America, Romero said.

“We have a very scalable solution, we can work with medium-sized companies and we have opportunities in large companies,” Romero said. “We have structured our marketing and commercial solutions with modularity, scalability for different scenarios.”

According to FreightWaves’ SONAR platform, the outbound tender volume index in Laredo, Texas (OTVI.LRD), declined about 8% week-over-week, but has increased about 3% since Tuesday. Laredo is a key port of entry for cross-border freight on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Laredo handles a variety of products coming from Mexico, like machinery, electronics and produce. Over the last few months, freight volume in the South Texas has been driven by produce season. Over the next several months, more produce volume will be shipping out of Florida and California than Texas.

Volume fluctuations in the border market of Laredo, Texas, could be a signal that produce season is slowing down across South Texas. SONAR: Outbound Tender Volume Index – Laredo (OTVI.LRD). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Watlow opens manufacturing plant in Querétaro, Mexico

Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. recently expanded its capacity in Mexico with its fourth manufacturing plant in the city of Querétaro.

The $21 million plant employs 1,315 people and will manufacture industrial electric heaters and sensors. Watlow employs about 2,500 in Querétaro, which is located in central Mexico.

The St. Louis-based company makes industrial heaters, temperature sensors and controllers for semiconductor processing, energy processes, components for diesel engines, food service equipment, and more.

Watlow has a total of 13 facilities in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia, according to its website. The company employs about 400 people in St. Louis and more than 3,000 globally.

Dimerco launches Asia to Mexico freight service 

Freight forwarder Dimerco Express Group recently began offering multimodal services for supplier companies shipping high-value components from Asia to manufacturing plants in Mexico, according to a release.

Dimerco’s new Air+Road transport service aims to enable customers to ship door-to-door from China to Mexico, via the U.S., in just six to eight days with higher security.

The Air+Road offering uses regular consolidated flights from China to Los Angeles and Dallas with cross-border bonded trucking services to deliver freight to Mexico.

Once in Mexico, cargo is delivered to the international airport closest to the consignee, where customs will classify the freight as a China to Mexico airport-to-airport shipment, Dimerco said.

Taiwan-based Dimerco has more than 160 offices in 17 countries across Asia, North America and Europe.

$4 million worth of methamphetamine seized at Laredo port of entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized 219 pounds of methamphetamine while inspecting a tractor-trailer in Laredo, Texas.

The case occurred March 25 at Laredo’s Colombia Solidarity Bridge. Officers were searching a tractor-trailer arriving from Mexico with a shipment of waterproof sealant when they reportedly discovered the methamphetamine.

The narcotics have an estimated street value of $4.4 million. CBP seized the narcotics and the case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.

In February, CBP seized more than 21,400 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. Drug seizures at the U.S.-Mexico border are down 57% compared to the same month in 2021.

Watch: FreightWaves’ carrier update for April 1.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]