Juan Duarte: "AAPA LATINO continues to be a leader in knowledge generation in the sector"

17 August 2022

As an avant-garde space in the critical analysis of matters of interest for the maritime-port and logistics industry, as well as in the creation of new knowledge within the sector, Juan Duarte, Managing Director of Duaga, described the Latin American Congress of Ports of AAPA.

Duarte will be moderator of the panel “Intelligent Financing for Strategic Growth”, in which he will share space with regional and international banking executives, within the framework of the event that celebrates 30 years in the Brazilian port capital, Santos.


CAPITAL TO GROW

As part of his intervention, Duaga's Director will deliver his vision of the existing opportunities for "intelligent financing" in times of high uncertainty. He supports his role in front of this prestigious consulting firm, dedicated to supporting strategic growth and preparing for the financing of port works in more than ten countries in the region.

Asked about the meaning of this concept, Juan Duarte explained that “intelligent financing in the port field is the set of measures and actions, both operational and financial, in the short, medium and long term, to guarantee the financial health of companies. It is the cash flow for operations and the capital needed for the growth plan.” 

The professional explained that in a scenario still marked by Covid and port closures, the war between Russia and Ukraine, high fuel prices, inflation, reactivation plans based on public spending and mistrust of international markets, it’s necessary to "strengthen the planning, measurement and strict monitoring of all our operations, financial statements and the detailed execution of our objectives to provide a little more certainty in a time of uncertainty."

“We must remember that crises create opportunities, but to take advantage of opportunities they must be carefully structured, identified and very well planned to be executed in the correct order. Our clients continue to grow by following this method that allows them to grow assets and increase the client base, our monthly cash generation and the generation of lines of credit, and improve our relationship with suppliers”, he insisted.

BEING CAREFUL

Regarding what to do during the current situation, the leader of Duaga -who has more than ten years of experience leading nearly 50 successful consulting processes-, maintained that caution must prevail and select the most appropriate projects that deliver the greatest added value to the clients. 

“You have to be super careful with the moment. Financing and refinancing will depend on the type of project, its location, term, profitability, the value it is capable of generating for clients and its growth strategy. This means that not all projects are suitable at this time, but all of them can be measured, structured and planned”, he stated. 

To finance –Duarte observed– there are different models according to each type of initiative, which before receiving resources must be subjected to an analysis with a view aimed towards achieving the best possible results, mentioning for this short and medium term instruments that give certainty to investments with the highest return. "Long-term instruments can also be very beneficial, because they allow us to project our strategic growth hand in hand with international banks to generate projects that give greater impact to the core of our business," he added.

FINANCING IN THE SECTOR

Duarte recognized that the AAPA LATINO 2022 will be a propitious forum to address this relevant matter, since the representatives of different companies that attend the event will be able to obtain greater insights on how to strategically guide their work in times of uncertainty. 

In this regard, the Managing Director of Duaga stressed that in this disruptive historical, political, social and even health cycle, those projects that add value to clients and also to collaborators must be prioritized, specifically training them to face the crisis situation more decidedly.

“Infrastructure projects in ports are long-term, but the beauty of AAPA LATINO is that not only ports, terminals and port authorities attend, but also all kinds of actors; so we have those long-term projects of port operators and terminals, but there are still operators of logistics services, of maritime services, that is, we have several dishes within the same event. In that sense, what projects should we prioritize? I would say that initiatives that generate greater value for our clients and our collaborators who are our main asset. It is a good time to train our workers to add greater value to our clients, it is also a time to finance those initiatives with greater profitability and those projects that allow us to generate healthy cash, because in the uncertainty the payment deadlines are extended”, he further elaborated. 

Regarding his participation in Santos' appointment as moderator of the panel "Intelligent Financing for Strategic Growth", Duarte said he was "happy to participate in AAPA LATINO, which is, without a doubt, the most important event in the continent in our industry, where all decision makers in our sector meet. Since my first AAPA LATINO event in Rio I have been to all of them ever since, and this is an event that I love, a family that I love, because I have grown up in its halls and with its members.” 

He added that this will be his second time leading a panel, after his experience in Cartagena, and assured that despite the fact that the big issues -containers, ports, shipping companies, sustainability- are usually similar in each Congress, he hopes to provide up-to-date and different information in the details. 

“The bet for this year is to tell something that is needed, which is how we finance our business through smart financing, which is the set of short, medium and long-term operational and financial actions. This will give a new vision to the attendees of AAPA LATINO, which is the main event in the field, with conferences that make us think about how to grow our business. Because AAPA LATINO is the leader in generating knowledge and in this panel we want to make people think about how to strategically grow our business with different types of financial solutions”, he concluded.

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