In recent years, Mexican companies able to keep a sustained growth rate, partnerships and engage in diversification are not a product of casualty. These businesses have been through ups, downs and the unexpected changes of fluctuating economies proper of still-under-development countries: from well-documented booms in certain trades including optimist growth and progress forecasts to crisis, currency devaluation and markets’ change of pace. It takes more than just will power or healthy fund reserves for some companies to survive, but traits such as flexibility, adaptation and a cunning ability to spot and take part in new business opportunities are also required.
Most of these qualities have shaped Corporativo UNNE, starting as a retail outlet for construction materials; it didn’t take long for them to start transporting these goods to customers elsewhere, ending up as a very important logistics company in Mexico. “We recently built a terminal port in the state of Hidalgo, a transfer facility to products brought from cargo ports on their way towards large markets,” says the company’s CEO regarding Terminal Intermodal Logistica Hidalgo (TILH) logistics port, a facility to ease transit and paperwork for different products, including some whose origin or final destination is abroad.
UNNE’s continuous growth is not to be based merely on the acquisition of new units for their cargo services or diversifying into new, previously unexplored ventures, but much rather by focusing in every improvement possible for the existing business units and their procedures in order to bring them to fulfill their potential which, as a result, will naturally bring the need for new transport units as well as operative and office personnel. “We have a future project involving compressed natural gas (CNG), we have a housing construction project pending... we are consolidating the existing mining, construction, energy, cargo and logistics lines by creating new business opportunities for each,” says Paredes.
In fact, there’s also a project that will go beyond plain fuel vending by obtaining energy from residues to be used for industrial or residential purposes. “The ongoing energy reform in Mexico will create new necessities not only in the energy sector, but in every industry sector in our country,” said Noe Paredes.
Leverage through partnerships
As a way to gain competitiveness in Mexico, UNNE partnered with a global company to offer logistics services, this eased the link between cargo ports and large consumption markets (with Mexico City being, basically, the largest in the country) through terminal ports where train freight and land freight meet. “At the end of the day, the purpose is to simplify every procedure for our clients into cost-reducing volumes while having their products close to their marketplace... there lies our leverage,” says Paredes.
Partners for a lifetime
One of the most productive partnerships for UNNE in recent years is the one held with HPH (Hutchison Port Holdings), who performed a large investment in the TILH terminal port project. There have been other strategic partners during the 40-plus year operation; local land freight companies and banks have placed their trust and resources in UNNE’s hands. “We have had faithful suppliers from day one: they saw our birth, growth and development along with theirs’ in unique synergy,” said UNNE’s CEO.
Sustainable energy as part of new ventures
The ongoing problems of waste management and groundwater pollution are to be solved with residues being transformed into electric power. Other measure towards reduction of the corporation’s impact on the environment is the transition from diesel into CNG-fueled vehicles; part of UNNE’s companies’ vehicle fleet is being fueled by compressed natural gas already.
Networking for long run operations
Paredes is positive that the best upcoming opportunities for the corporation will come through the logistics unit, which is to be strengthened and developed to its fullest potential. UNNE’s efforts have produced results as mid and long-term investments; each new venture is sometimes a preceding step towards a larger enterprise and there’s also the adaptation factor when the whole business spectrum outside the corporation is also changing. “During the last couple of years we have experienced delays in a new construction boom all over the country, which may seem to reset during the next two to five years,” says Paredes.