"Anything is achievable by talking, working and training, so that when the team is out on the pitch, things happen."
Quality of staff, quality of service. Like the good host it is, Montecon gives all it’s got to ensure that visitors to the Port of Montevideo have a positive experience in every respect. And Julio Branda plays a big part in that. From his office in Rincón he works every day alongside his team, striving to make a difference in the quality of service and the peace of mind that Montecon represents for the transit freight it handles.
Julio has seven years' experience running Montecon’s commercial management, and thirty-five years in the group of businesses that are now known as Nodus. He knows that excellence demands confidence, closeness and availability when dealing with clients: “professionals that go out onto the pitch with a desire to win, 120 phone calls a day to our 0800 number that are very well attended, an interactive and very active web page”, he says.
Arriving at work every morning with the motivation he had on the first day of work is a feeling that he tried to instil in his team. "The best thing I can do is empower them and let them shine for themselves. Anything is achievable by talking, working and training, so that when the team is out on the pitch, things happen', says Julio, looking to transmit the same faith that his boss, the general manager of the business, Juan Olascoaga, placed in him.
Mindful of the pitfalls of non-stop activity in a port that never closes its gates and a market that is in continuous change, Julio fights to keep his hand on the tiller of the ship. "Commercial work is a state of mind: you can’t be sad, melancholic or live in the past. You yourself have to bring about change, get out of your comfort zone and generate change."
"In the old days port terminals were based on assets, today what is important is the quality of service."
Whether it’s because the customer demands a service that meets new needs or because of the requirement to keep up with technological change: what is certain is that the commercial department must keep its eye fixed on the future. "In the old days, port terminals were based on assets, today what is important is the quality of service. It’s a paradigm change”, Julio explains.
In the modern world, the real challenge involves offering a different product for each business sector. “We can't really grow towards the sea: we are port operatives, we are not going to buy vessels or ships, nor compete with our principal clients. Therefore we must mature in another way, in knowing what a cold storage plants needs, what the pharmaceutical industry needs and what the timber industry needs,” he says.
In other words, to work so that containers are not a commodity. “Ask a wine maker how they would take care of their wine and in what conditions it should arrive at its destination. I am certain that they would have thousands of recommendations about how it should be loaded, at what temperature and in what position. Because that wine maker has been caring for that wine from the beginning and expects a excellent final product to arrive at its destination. The same thing happens with pharmaceutical products. Transporting them requires social and ethical care: you can't treat them like a regular container”.
"If only we had more Montecons in other fields."
Six out of every ten containers that pass through the port of Montevideo operate with Montecon. This is no small figure, bearing in mind that as the terminal functions in public areas, it must coexist with other vessels like fishing boats and cruise ships. The drive to do so not only distinguishes Montecon in its context, but makes it a indisputable associate of Uruguay in business terms. “If only we had more Montecons in other fields”, sighs Julio.
The country needs them in order to grow its foreign trade policy. In this sense, Julio urges, “Get out there. Public-private activity must be in markets, consulates and embassies, trying to promote a trade policy”. For goods to have added value is also crucial because the more they have, the more foreign currency will come into the country. “For that we must be competitive, approach the principal buyers and diversify the portfolio of customers. China today, Brasil, Europe or the United States tomorrow”. That’s the future of foreign trade.
Montecon is the main public-area operator in the Port of Montevideo, not only for containers but also for general freight and freight projects. Its clients enjoy a seamless service that is world class.