The gathering provided an opportunity to foster relationships between people already active in the Latin American market and those interested in developing trading links with a region which, according to LAC Chair Alejandro Jaramillo of Glorem SC was alive with “significant growth opportunities” for the sourcing and selling of recyclables.
Indeed, a series of speakers highlighted the trading potential presented by Latin America – a region with 20 countries covering a total of 21m square kilometres and with a population of close to 600m people. For example, Alejandro Guerra of Mexico-based automotive components giant NEMAK underlined his company’s desire to “develop a sustainable supply chain” to support the steep growth in demand for its products. Given the limited availability in Latin America, his company was always seeking additional scrap vendors in other parts of the world who were able to offer reliable supply and quality, he emphasised.
Contributors to the meeting also stressed the challenges of doing business in Latin America. LAC founder Enrique Acosta of BMB Metals in the USA, who had been conducting business in Latin America for more than two decades, urged container exporters from the region to dedicate human resources to the direct managerial control of shipments so as to ensure, for example, the best freight deals and the proper processing of documentation. In Latin America, he said, it was necessary to be “more proactive” with, for example, shipping lines in order to “keep the loop moving”.
In addition, Acosta and Guerra agreed on the need for companies to “do their homework” on potential business partners. “I don’t buy from unknown sources,” the former insisted.
Even a country the size of Brazil had a relatively low number of exporters – often because making initial contacts was “really hard”, explained Sébastien Hidalgo of Spain-based Reinox Metal. For example, many of its relatively large companies did not have their own websites and detailed information on them was often difficult to secure. Mr Hidalgo hoped and believed the LAC would be instrumental in bridging this gap.