As more and more Latin American companies digitize their logistics operations, inefficient silos are falling, says Alfonso de los Rios, chief executive officer and co-founder of Nowports.
Latin American logistics has been hampered by a lack of transparency of freight movements and accompanying processes, de los Rios says. Shippers and service providers have had to rely on e-mails and phone calls to obtain information on order status. The result is extra work and multiple errors in key documents. What’s needed, he says, is a digitization of that data so that it can be placed in a web browser, at the user’s fingertips.
Digitization can fill in the gaps where data isn’t visible, making possible an environment of continuous improvement. It provides a record of all documents, as well as who’s in charge of sending them. “You become the operating system,” says de los Rios. “You bring visibility to all the parties — carriers, trucking companies, freight forwarders.”
Digital technologies can also help to eliminate the silos of information that hamper the free and timely flow of data. That’s a problem that plagues logistics providers in all regions of the world, de los Rios notes.
With Latin America, the most progress toward digitization of logistics can be found in Mexico and Chile, he says. But de los Rios expects the technology to spread quickly throughout the region, as service providers, shippers and government officials turn to the technology to smooth the passage of freight across borders.
Slower adoption can be seen in other parts of Latin America, but de los Rios believes the region will see widespread digitization of logistics processes over the next three to five years. Prior to the pandemic, he would have said 10 to 15 years, but it often takes a crisis to spur action.
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