• Photo: Schneider Inc

27.02.2024 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 48454

The major trends

Latin American logistics sector leeward of global ruptures. For 30 years the analysts at the market research institute ‘America’s Market Intelligence’ have tracked and traced the various developments of the transport and logistics sector in the rather diverse Latin American countries. Their report for 2024 is generally optimistic.

Miami (Fla) is the capital of Latin America, as a tongue-in-cheek saying has it. Whatever the truth behind the words (and there’s some truth in every joke, as we know), an annual survey of Latin America’s transport and logistics industry is published in Miami, of all places, as the Floridian metropolis is home to the market research institute ‘America’s Market Intelligence’ (AMI).

AMI’s report once again takes a close look at the overland, sea and air transport networks, together with the overall and the refrigerated logistics segments, which are important sectors in the region.

Many trends play into the hands of the region’s logisticians these days. Nearshoring is one key element in this context; it inspires Mexico, among others (see page 8). The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) estimates that the short and medium term potential for further exports from Latin America and the Caribbean could result in as much as USD 78 billion flowing there.

The continent has plenty of opportunities in global terms, as Diego Rodríguez, AMI’s director of logistics practice, elaborated. “Latin America has a unique opportunity to assume a decisive role in value chains to and from the USA and Europe, as wages in China have started to exceed those in much of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Road transport in the region is riding high, thanks also to e-commerce. Mexico leads the way in this field, with around 11.4 million trucks, followed by Brazil with 3.9 million and Chile (around 320,000 lorries) and Colombia (214,000).

AMI expects a degree of consolidation in this mode of transport in the medium-term, particularly in Mexico, due to a recent boom, as well as the high cost of the mode, which suffers from poor infrastructure.

“Warehousing and order processing are nevertheless amongst the fastest growing sub-segments of the logistics industry in the region,” says Rodríguez. Many shippers and integrators are investing in Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Brazil.

Developments in the modal split

The services provided by the industry in 2022 are estimated at USD 60-65 billion, with major providers including DHL, DSV, Mercado Libre, Frialsa, Solistica, Emergent Cold, Grupo Traxión and Suppla. There appears to be no end to investment.

In maritime transport the number of vessels linking South America to Europe and the Mediterranean region increased from 39 to 43 between 2019 and 2023. It decreased from 47 to 42 on routes between South and North America. Mexico was negatively affected, while Brazil benefited.

Air cargo has recovered since the time of measures to contain the outbreak of Covid-19. Rodríguez nevertheless concluded that “the region will continue to have the lowest cargo load factors in the world,” as was already the case in the past.

Pharmaceuticals transports have accelerated the growth of refrigerated services. From 2020 and 2023 revenues in Latin America grew from USD 26 to 31.5 billion. This sector hasn’t achieved the gains registered in the USA and in Europe recently, but growth is considered steady.

The subcontinent benefits from its distance from geopolitical disruption, which will allow it to build a solid future for its logistics sector through investment in its infrastructure.


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