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Kensa Logistics — Mexico City, Mexico

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Interview with

Mr. Justin Facey
CEO

First of all, Justin, please tell us about the history of Kensa Logistics. When did you start the company, who owns it, and tell us about your office location and network in Mexico?

Kensa is an accumulation of my nearly 30 years in shipping, freight forwarding, project cargo, and logistics. Although I just opened Kensa 2 years ago (2018) together with a silent partner, both myself and all the management have many years experience in these fields, especially in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean where over the years I have opened more than 15 companies (which continue to be active). Finally, I decided it was time to put so many years of experience to the test and do something a little different and a lot more personal.

Mexico has several ports. Could you outline for our readers the most commonly used ports for project and containerised cargoes? And are there ports that you recommend especially for the Gulf and Pacific Coasts?

Indeed, Mexico has many ports, and we at Kensa operate in all of them. However the main ports could be considered to be Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific Coast, with Veracruz and Altamira on the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico side. That said, there are some ports (and specifically some terminals within these ports) which are far more experienced than others in the handling of break bulk operations, especially when it comes to highly demanding projects such as tubes and blades for wind farms. At Kensa, we are proud to be able to say we know ‘who’s who’ in this part of the world and are able to advise on a case by case basis depending on the cargo and the destination. Mexico is such a huge country, and at the same time, the road infrastructure is not so good in some areas, so to say just one specific port or terminal is ‘the one to use’ would be a mistake.

Have you handled project cargoes before? Could you give us a few examples?

Most certainly. When I first arrived in Mexico 22 years ago, I would handle the project cargo business personally. Today at Kensa, I have a small yet professional team led by Manuel Vega with whom we have done many projects together over the years. Just as an example, here are some of the ones that have meant the most to me:

Mexico

3 production lines, including a 270 ton press for Gestamp (automotive)

Multiple production lines of Sit Manufacturing (the largest gas valve manufacturer in the world)

Critical chartering of 7 Antonov’s with 800 tons of electrical cable for Colombia to replace the cables at the Guatupe Hydroelectric Station which provided over 7% of Colombia’s power supply, after a dramatic fire which destroyed the station

Tres Mesas Tres Windmill Farm for Vestas (trucking and management of 16 windmills—tubes, blades, and generators)

Yearly “Natural Gas” (today known as Naturgy) maintenance projects for their thermoelectric plant in Tuxpan

Trucking and rigging of a 140 ton transformer plus accessories for Acciona

Shipment, customs, and management for the Canadian Solar Blumex solar farm

Central American and the Caribbean

In addition to these projects in Mexico, we also manage project cargo in countries from Cuba to Panama, Dominican Republic to Honduras. This part of the world is unknown to many, but fascinating to me and my team. We are passionate about what we do, and thoroughly enjoy helping our clients and partners around the world find solutions for their needs in Mexico and the region.

Customs clearance in Mexico is that a problem normally? Would you have any good advice or rule of thumb that you could give our readers about customs in Mexico?

The biggest obstacle many clients and partners find in Mexico is Mexican Customs. This is a vitally important part of the business in Kensa, and the majority of the staff are extremely well trained and experienced in all matters of customs regulations in Mexico. The best recommendation I can give is to ask first. We don’t charge for advice on customs and will gladly help our partners give the best advice to their staff and clients. It is a huge mistake to think customs in Mexico can be a second thought. When shipping to or from Mexico, the first thing you should do is send us all the information you can about the business, so we can tell you what’s the best way forward and what to watch out for.

Who are the major trading partners of your country? Do you have your own offices abroad and do you belong to any networks?

The top 5 trading partners are: USD (77%), Canada 3.1%, China 1.6%, Germany 1.6%, Brasil 1%. They are closely followed by Colombia, Japan, Holland, South Korea, United Kingdom, Chile, Belgium, Guatemala, Italy, and France. I’m sure you’ll agree the most amazing statistic is that 77% of trade is with the USA. That’s the reason why they say that when the US economy gets a cold, Mexico gets influenza (not Coronavirus though!).

At present, Kensa only has offices in Mexico. However, we will, in time, be expanding to Central America and the Caribbean. Our No.1 priority today though is Mexico. 

As for networks, honestly, we have only joined Cross Ocean / CLC Projects thanks to the recommendation of a great partner (and member of Cross Ocean in Spain). I am not so keen on being a member of networks as their members tend to just to be looking for what everybody else can give them and not what they can put in. Additionally, I have built up my own network of partners over the past 27 years in the business. However, I was asked to try Cross Ocean / CLC as they are more unique, and I must say that so far, the experience has been excellent. I would certainly recommend being a part of this same network to other partners.

If my memory serves me right, there used to be a shipowner called TMM owned by Mexico.  Do they still exist? What regular shipping lines carrying break bulk cargo normally come to Mexico? I don’t mean tramp or charter vessels but rather liner vessels.

Indeed. TMM was a shipping line I used greatly many years ago. As with the majority of lines over the years, they were bought up by a bigger fish. At that time, it was CP Ships, which eventually ended up being bought up by Hapag Lloyd. TMM Group however continues to survive in other fields, such as logistics and port terminals, but they are a much smaller operation than they used to be some 20 years ago.

As for regular shipping lines carrying break bulk cargo, the main ones we use here at Kensa are Hoegh, Ciem Sea Carriers, Stinnes, Bahri, Walhenius, and Grimaldi to name just a few. There are not as many options as perhaps in Houston, Northern Europe, etc., but we can always find something that will give the right solution for the right price.

Can you also arrange inland transport in Mexico?

Most certainly we can, and we do—both for LTL, FTL, project cargo, last mile distribution… the whole show.

What is the best way to get in touch with you?

Please get in touch at mx.jfacey@kensalogistics.com 24/7 (nearly…!)