New logistics adjunct at Miami Free Zone targets China-Latin America trade
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The parent company of the Miami Free Zone-based China Sourcing Center has set up an adjacent logistics company to help lubricate the flow of goods between China and Latin America.
Chimerica International Logistics, a newly formed subsidiary of Shanghai-headquartered freight forwarder Uni Logistics, started full operations at the beginning of the year, according to Wenzel Lewinsky, senior business development manager for the China Sourcing Center.
"Logistics is such a big field you cannot know everything, but you have to know a lot. The supply chain is made up of many, many different parts," Mr. Lewinsky said. "We employ people who know China-to-Americas trade, current custom regulations, trade regulations, the players in the markets and the free zone."
Both companies fall under the umbrella of Shanghai-based freight forwarding giant Globelink China Logistics.
Uni Logistics has pursued a similar strategy to facilitate Chinese trade with other regions. U-Trans will link China to European and Mediterranean while Rosean covers Asia, the Persian Gulf and Africa.
The China Sourcing Center's 3,000-square-foot showroom in the free trade zone shows only a handful of the millions of products the center can source from more than 600,000 manufacturers. As business grows, it plans to expand the showroom many times over to 76,000 square feet.
And because goods are housed in the 850,000-square-foot Miami Free Zone, they're exempt from US duties and regulations until they actually enter the US market. Goods destined for Latin America, however, fall outside the purview of US regulations.
The Chimerica office in Miami is budgeted for about 10 employees, Mr. Lewinsky noted, but could be positioned to grow due to opportunities the Chinese see in Latin America.
The region's economy was less impacted by the worldwide economic downturn thanks to smaller investments in US securities than, for examples, European nations.
China is looking to capitalize on its BRIC counterpart, Brazil, which has been pegged as one of the markets in the region with the most opportunity.
"Trade between China and Latin America has grown over eight years, from 2003 to 2010, from $10 billion to $140 billion" annually, said sourcing center Managing Director Frank Cao in a previous interview.
China was the Miami Customs District's fourth largest partner in 2010, with about $5.1 billion in bilateral trade.
The sweet spot in Latin America for Chimerica and the sourcing center, which charge a 5% fee on each invoice, are small and medium-size business that might not have the resources to travel to China or ability to navigate transcontinental logistics.
"I'm not going to approach Home Depot. They have specialized so much in how they source I cannot compete," Mr. Lewinsky said. "But I can make the life of the small or medium importer who wants to diversify much better."
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