Trafigura travels south

Trafigura is moving forward with a campaign aimed at beefing up its presence on the East Coast of South America.
Trafigura, like many cash-rich commodities players, are picking up the pace of initiatives aimed at taking greater control of the supply chain.

Trafigura, like many cash-rich commodities players, are picking up the pace of initiatives aimed at taking greater control of the supply chain.

The commodities giant on Wednesday announced plans to “invest and build” what it described as a “regional hub” in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The company indicated the initiative will include a $20m investment in the construction of a new office building that will be located in the Zonamerica business park.

If all goes according to plan Trafigura says the project will likely begin in March and should be completed in approximately 18 months.

Today, the company said it is expects to see over 300 employees  based in its newest satellite office by the end of 2015.

“Trafigura already has a presence in Montevideo for commercial activity related to the trading of oil, minerals and metals for the South American region and shared support functions for the Americas,” it continued.

“In future, heads of trading desks for the region and their teams will operate from Montevideo as part of the company's plans to grow trading volumes across the region, supported by teams in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.”

Trafigura made it clear that the plan is another component of a broader bid to “invest in infrastructure assets” that support trade flows between South America and destinations like Europe, Asia and the Americas.

In addition it pointed out that Impala, the company’s port and terminal subsidiary, also plans to base its South American operations in Montevideo, which may not come as a surprise since it recently acquired a controlling interest in Porte Sudeste from iron ore producer MMX.

“Operational later in 2014, this major new terminal with initial capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum will connect miners in Brazil's Iron Quadrangle with global markets,” the trading giant continued in reference to the port complex.

Trafigura, which operates both owned and chartered tonnage and recently put pen to paper on orders for a series of bulkers and products tankers, will be in good company when it opens its office in Uruguay’s capital city.

Navios South American Logistics, an affiliate of diversified Greek operator Navios Maritime Holdings, is headquartered in Montevideo as well and currently occupies an office that is located less than 30 minutes away, according to a local market source.

Several mining companies and commodities firms like Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus are active in Uruguay and the surrounding region, which boasts a busy network of ports and terminals that serves as an important link in the global supply chain.

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