"Leschaco is present in the major markets in the Americas – Mexico, US, and Brazil, where we see huge opportunity to grow at a significant rate. The company is increasingly shifting our attention to a regional focus as customers are more and more looking for regional and integrated solutions rather than country solutions."
How was 2019 for Leschaco, and what are your plans for 2020?
We had more positive expectations for Mexico when we planned our 2019 budget, but due to the change in government the economy did not develop as expected. Still, Leschaco had a good year in Mexico – the company was able to grow our business by 10%. Towards 2020, Leschaco is putting a new layer on our organizational chart which will focus on the region. As of January 2020, I took a new role, becoming the responsible head for the Americas.
In line with this structural change, we will focus on significant growth within the region. We currently have offices in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the US, and we also have very strong relationships with external partners in other important countries. Besides strengthening these partnerships, we also would like to increase our footprint in Latin America which might lead to the opening of more offices.
Leschaco is well known not only for being a leading, globally acting freight forwarder, but also for having our own fleet of tank containers, with more than 5,000 units. This fleet grows every year.
Chemical imports have been increasing in the main markets in the region (Mexico and Brazil). What does this mean for a freight forwarding company like Leschaco in terms of opportunity?
It is good for our business when Mexico grows their export capacity into Latin America, but we also have more work during the country’s times of struggle when they have to rely more on imports. Leschaco remains involved in coordinating transport for the entire supply chain. With the current climate, our industry has to focus more on integrated solutions. It is not only transporting freight from point A to point B, but covering the entire supply chain.
Have you seen any changes in the trade dynamics due to geopolitical aspects such as the trade war between the US and China?
Over the second half of 2019 we felt the impact of the trade war. Many of our US customers reduced their volumes as they are linked to the trade with China, and exports to the Asian market significantly decreased. When it comes to our business in Mexico, where we are more linked to imports, the trade conflict has had a general impact on the economic growth of the country. In terms of Mexico’s business with Asia, we saw a smaller growth rate compared to previous years.
What are the prospects for Leschaco in the region?
Leschaco is present in the major markets in the Americas – Mexico, US, and Brazil, where we see huge opportunity to grow at a significant rate. The company is increasingly shifting our attention to a regional focus as customers are more and more looking for regional and integrated solutions rather than country solutions.
Leschaco is a family owned business and we are more flexible than most of our competitors. Our agility and adaptability to the needs of our customers are what differentiates us in the market. Our goal moving forward is to be proactive in the market and take on opportunities with both hands.
APLA celebrates its 40 years in 2020. What have been the main changes you have seen in APLA and the wider chemical industry over the last decades?
First of all I would like to congratulate APLA on its 40th anniversary. Such as other industries, the chemical sector is also under an ongoing wind of change. Companies are acting globally, with all the involved opportunities and threats. Mergers and acquisitions became the new normal and emerging markets are increasing significantly their share of the market. For our industry it was interesting to see how logistics has become more and more important over the course of the years for our customers to remain competitive.
APLA always played an important role in helping our industry to become aligned and focused on upcoming challenges.