Dacotrans & Daco Heavy Lift – Guatemala

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Interview with

Mr. Mathias Rehe
President and CEO

For starters Mathias, what actually prompted you to choose a career in shipping & logistics?

When I was young, I was fascinated by the possibility of traveling lots and learning new languages. When I was faced with the decision of what to do with my life after school, I saw that this industry gives you the opportunity to combine both things. Then I started doing an apprenticeship in Germany in freight forwarding and built my career on this basis.


For how long have you been in Latin America, and how did that come about?

After my apprenticeship, I worked one and a half years full time in Germany, when an opportunity arose to work for DACOTRANS in Guatemala. Then, what was supposed to be 3 years in the country, turned into 34 years (as of now) living in the tropics. 


Could you elaborate a bit on the history of DACOTRANS, its origins, ownership and current global structure?  Where is the headquarters located?

DACOTRANS Guatemala was founded 51 years ago, as an affiliated company of Dacotrans Grosskopf Germany. In the beginning, we were mainly focused on project forwarding. Yet, since there weren’t many projects available in the country, we also started doing normal day-to-day freight forwarding business to be able to sustain the company.

Eventually, 26 years ago DACO HEAVY LIFT was founded as an asset-owned company. Due to the lack of heavy hauling equipment in the region, this was a good opportunity to get a head start in the market. The latter started growing rapidly and doing business in Central America, the Caribbean and Suriname as well as Guyana. Present ownership of both companies lies mainly within the Grosskopf family and myself. Today, our headquarters are jointly in Guatemala City, but our equipment travels through the region. Additionally, we work in cooperation with other companies within the DACOTRANS worldwide network, where the Grosskopf family are involved in ownership. 


Being now in Central America as I understand, could you tell our readers about some of the general logistics challenges you face?  I suppose customs and inland transportation can be a problem or not?

Industry in Central America is mainly faced with bureaucratic challenges due to the way in which the ports and customs offices operate. Some ports are tough to work in, due to a lack of maintenance, proper equipment and human resources. As well as this, the inland infrastructure can be challenging to work with. Taking bridges as an example, since this is a problem we face quite often, a lot are old and have reduced capacity.


Central America has several ports, and there are many countries.  From your perspective, which ports would you say are “better” at handling OOG and project cargoes? Is Central America like an “EU” with open borders/market for logistics movements?

I would say that you can handle OOG and project cargoes in all ports. Some are more challenging than others however. Two examples of challenging ports are Puerto Cortes in Honduras and Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica. These have a lack of bridge capacities near the ports, which proves challenging when transporting inland.  

In regards to there being an EU-like open borders program in Central America, I would say definitely not. The countries are very much separated and have only very few customs agreements between each other. 


Looking into your ‘crystal ball’, how do you foresee the market in 2024?

Investment in green energy, mainly wind, is a factor in our market. So this is a driver for projects in the area. Due to a constant population increase, there’s always demand in the countries. Nevertheless, sometimes due to political issues in parts of the region, investors might be cautious about where they put their money. However, there’s also the recent discovery of large quantities of oil in Guyana, which is also increasing business.


Why should any potential customer or agent use DACOTRANS?  In your view, what are the main advantages that you offer any would-be customer?

DACOTRANS is a project forwarder that knows its way around the ports as well as customs in the area. Additionally, with DACO HEAVY LIFT, we offer heavy lift and OOG transport, foundation deliveries and cranes. The combination of both makes it a one-stop-shop for customers looking for a no headache solution to their challenging transports.


How is it best for our readers to get in touch with you?

You can send me an email directly at mathias.rehe@dacotrans.com.gt and I will gladly answer all of your questions.

Website: https://www.dacotrans.com.gt/
Website: https://www.dacoheavylift.com/