You Always Have to Have a Plan B: Grupo GerezBy Peter Appleby | Tue, 01/12/2021 - 14:25
Q: How is Grupo Gerez solving transportation and import problems in Mexico?
A: Grupo Gerez is a family company and was established more than 85 years ago. Since the enactment of the Energy Reform, there has been much interest in the country´s oil and gas sector and we believe this to be very positive. Leading companies from around the world are arriving and bringing their technology and know-how to exploration, drilling and now production.
Of the early major projects that arrived following the Energy Reform was the TC Energía Texas–Tuxpan pipeline project, which travels from Port Isabel in Texas, to Altamira, and in to Tuxpan. Grupo Gerez was one of the customer brokers involved with bringing this project to Mexico. We were elected to import 17 vessels for Allseas and some more for subcontractors, which where contracted for the engineering and installation of 685km of 42-inch pipeline. We brought more than 6,000 shipments into Mexico to support the operation.
More recently, we have been asked to provide ground transportation from Brownsville to Matamoros for companies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With major IOCs coming to Mexico, we bring their equipment to the country and help the industry progress. In addition, Grupo Gerez has attempted to mark itself out as the import specialist for the entire oil and gas industry, delivering expertise to all players.
This is not easy; oil and gas imports are entirely different to common import/export in Mexico. When oil and gas companies arrive to the country, they bring equipment that is then sent back to another country once the job is complete. We help companies import their equipment and store it with customs strategies that remove tax burdens. These strategies require authorizations that we know how to obtain due to our local knowledge. Nevertheless, the oil and gas business is never predictable, and local knowledge combined with flexibility is key. We always have a Plan B.
Q: How does Grupo Gerez leverage its presence on both sides of the border?
A: The majority of Grupo Gerez’s activity is based in Tampico / Altamira and Matamoros in Mexico and in Brownsville, Texas. We focus on both sides of the border and want to enhance our presence in Tabasco and Campeche. We are doing this through partnerships and an exchange of services with companies that have a strong presence in the south: we support them in the north and they support us in the south. We are delivering a three-party logistics service (3PL) for all industry stakeholders and with this expansion, we are able to do so. With a 3PL service we can cover third-party logistics and supply chain management services. This includes warehousing and full distribution services, with the warehouse in Brownsville serving as the last point of entry into Mexico. For example, Matamoros and Brownsville are the last point of entry for the Trion block and Perdido field in the north of Tamaulipas. US-based companies do not want to invest in setting up a headquarters here so we can offer a one-stop solution for them in Mexico.
Oil companies are still arriving to Mexico and they do not always understand the peculiarities of the country. Our local knowledge allows us to step in here and establish their operations.
Q: How do partnerships with companies in southern Mexico strengthen Grupo Gerez’s value proposition?
A: Our partnership with companies in the south of Mexico allows us to execute one of our strategic goals, and that is to always have a presence on every operation. We believe that showing our faces on every project we take on has been key to our 85 years of success. The partnership allows us to continue this strategy in areas where we are not local. At the moment, we are working with a large drilling company in the south of Mexico and this company requested that people from our team be present during the operation. We sent people from Tampico to our client’s drilling site. Generally, we try to ensure that people local to the operation are there.
For onshore companies, we provide all transportation to and from worksites with a safety-first approach. We have to be on the same page in terms of the quality of service they require.
Q: What are your plans for the next two years?
A: Grupo Gerez intends to continue providing solutions to oil and gas companies in Mexico. We can help with customs, logistics, legal and safety matters. We will continue to have a close relationship with our clients, by visiting both their HQ and by showing our presence here. In our line of business, it is important that clients come to our offices and see our facilities so they know that we are not only a company that exists at the other end of the telephone line.
Grupo Gerez is a family-owned and run shipping and logistics company with 85 years of experience. It is present across Mexico, as well as in Texas. The company is headquartered in Tampico.