Mr. Jon Arevalillo Urquiaga
First of all, what can you tell me about the Sparber Dominican Republic branch? When was it established? Is it wholly owned by Sparber Group in Spain?
Sparber Dominicana was founded in 2001, continuing a plan designed by the owners to have their own strategic offices in Latinoamerica. Later, Sparber Group set up the Sparber Chile and Sparber Mexico offices.
Sparber Dominicana SRL is part of Sparber Group. The headquarters are located in Bilbao, with 8 offices in Spain, Germany, Hungary, China, Chile, México and Dominican Republic.
Elaborate if you will on the ports available for import & export in your country, and could you point out to us which ports are generally most used for project and OOG cargoes?
The main ports in the Dominican Republic are Caucedo and Rio Haina. There is now an important investment in port facilities because there is a government plan to have the Dominican Republic become the HUB of the Caribbean.
For project cargo, we’ve used the Cabo Rojo port located on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Manzanillo (Pepillo Salcedo) in the north and Barahona in the south.
How about customs clearance? Is that difficult, and do you have a rule of thumb when it comes to doing customs clearance in the Dominican Republic?
Following the rules of the official customs institutions in the Dominican Republic and following also the safe and secure business development of the supply chain (Sparber Dominicana recently obtained OEA and BASC certification memberships), Sparber has internally created special documentation processes to do customs clearance. Dominican Customs processes are improving every year, and nowadays the time of a standard customs dispatch is 48 hours on average.
I know that your group in Spain has extensive experience in handling project cargoes worldwide. Do you also have such experience in the Dominican Republic on a local scale, and could you provide us with some pictures of projects you’ve handled?
Yes, we’ve recently done the LARIMAR I project, hiring 5 vessels (origin Denmark, Houston, China x 2 and Uruguay) on the port of Cabo Rojo, on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Find below some pictures.
Also, we’re delivering parts for the substation of Parque Solar Girasol, the biggest solar park in the Caribbean region.
We took part in the Plata Mirador Norte project: a water treatment plant located in Santo Domingo, importing two, oversized storage silos on which we needed to transport the goods overnight with the supervision of official authorities.
You “share” the island with Haiti. Is it possible to transport cargoes over land to Haiti from the Dominican Republic? How is the relationship between the two countries? Is it possible to tranship cargoes into Puerto Rico as well or other Caribbean islands via the Dominican Republic?
Well, the relationship between the two countries is normal. Nowadays, they’re reaching some new agreements to regulate the situation of immigration.
There is no problem to transport goods. The Dominican Republic was very helpful to Haiti when the earthquake came in 2010. Port of Prince was destroyed, and humanitarian aid was transported on trucks from Dominican Republic to Haiti.
With Puerto Rico, the interchange of goods is fluent. We’re very close, following the good relationship and the investment the USA has in the Dominican Republic.
When did you start your own career in shipping & logistics?
I started in Hamburg in October 2010. I worked for a logistic company located directly in the Flughafen (airport). My first job was helping to pack cartons and pallets in the warehouse. That was a very important experience because I had the opportunity to learn German with my colleagues. After finishing my studies in Fachhochschule Regensburg in 2012, in February 2013, Sparber Group hired me to join the office of Sparber Chile. There, I learnt logistics on Big Letters. In April 2015, I joined Sparber Dominicana as Branch Manager.
Certainly, I cannot interview someone in the Dominican Republic without also asking about the country as a tourism destination. Which places would you recommend visiting when in your country? Any overlooked gems that are not overrun by tourists (non-COVID times of course)?
If I disrecommend Punta Cana, our hotel customers would be disappointed, hahaha. Punta Cana is one of the four big tourism places in the world. There, customers can find everything they want. But there are also other places, eco-tourism places like Bahia de las Águilas (the best beach in the world in my opinion), Rio San Juan, Punta Rucia or Samaná. Or if you like mountains, you can climb Pico Duarte (3098 m)
When our readers want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do that?
You can reach me via my e-mail address: email@example.com or using my company phone number +1 8296376565. Also, my LinkedIn page Jon Arevalillo Urquiaga, where we share the latest news about Sparber Group.