Javier Lancha began his career in the port sector as the finance director with the APM Terminal in Algeciras in the south of Spain.
“As this was my first position in the port sector, joining Algeciras represented a very important professional challenge, the starting point of my training in the business,” Lancha recalled. “And what better start than working in the hub of the Mediterranean region, the most important terminal in Spain, and a strategic point in a complex and challenging environment.”
He rose to become the CEO at Algeciras before taking on the role of managing director for the western Mediterranean, Algeciras and Tangier. Since December 2016, he has been the managing director at APM Terminals Callao (Peru).
His extensive management experience and education—Lancha completed the Advanced Management Program at the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School to go along with his Business Administration degree from the University College of Financial Studies—has helped his terminals’ carriers speed up project cargo.
Paul González-Morgan: What are the key factors to your success?
Javier Lancha: The success of an industry is related to its people. Although human capital is not the only factor, I consider it the most important one, as it allows you to mark the difference with respect to others.
All companies have equipment, they can have the latest technology, but if they do not know how to connect and communicate with their co-workers, how to thank them for their day-to-day work, they will find it hard to be successful. It is a fact that the big companies of the world constantly recognize the work and achievements of their people, whilst promoting the performance of their personnel; and that is our slogan in APM Terminals Callao. In addition, it is not only about individual achievements, but also collective ones, because it is about teamwork.
Paul González-Morgan: What is your management model at the terminal?
Javier Lancha: APM Terminals Callao is more a country port, contrary to Algeciras, which is a transshipment port; the North Pier of the Port of Callao is the main gateway into Peru, which has an important impact on the economy of the country, as well as an institutional and commercial impact.
Paul González-Morgan: How is APM Terminals Callao different from the competition?
Javier Lancha: The unique differentiator of APM Terminals Callao is its multipurpose port nature, providing container and general cargo services, the latter including break bulk, solid bulk, rolling cargo, liquids, as well as any other type of cargo such as cruise ships.
Additionally, we have technologically advanced equipment and personnel with international experience to meet these various types of cargo.
Paul González-Morgan: What are your growth prospects in the short, medium and long term?
Javier Lancha: The growth forecast for the following years is good and aligned with the growth of the Peruvian Gross Domestic Product (four percent), and with international markets where we export and import products, reason for which an increase is expected in both, container and general cargo volumes.
Paul González-Morgan: Technology in the port sector is key. How does your terminal optimize resources?
Javier Lancha: Technology in the port sector, as in all sectors, is a challenge today. We ask ourselves every day how to adapt to new technologies, processes and concepts that revolutionize the design and development of ports in terms of productivity, sustainability, with the sole purpose of meeting the demands of our customers. In that sense, APM Terminals aims to automate its processes globally.
At APM Terminals Callao, we are moving forward in terms of modernization; we aim to, in the 24 years we have left in our concession, turn the Port of Callao into a world-class operation. Since 2001, APM Terminals is in charge of the modernization project of the terminal, guaranteeing the necessary infrastructure and equipment that allows to increase operational efficiency and its standards to an international level.
After six years in the concession, APM Terminals has invested more than USD $460 million and has completed stages one and two of the modernization project. In terms of automation, USD $10.4 million was invested in a new entry gate, which has an Optical Character Recognition system, unique in Peru, which serves to capture information and digital images from all side of the container and the truck. In this way, the number plate data and container number are recorded quickly and accurately.
On the other hand, we have signed an agreement with the National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Administration, so that the administrative procedures are virtual allowing to improve processes, have a greater planning, greater efficiency and speed in the delivery of containers. Step by step we are moving forward; in the next few years we should start to evaluate how to automate horizontal transportation in each container yard.
Paul González-Morgan: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the maritime sector?
Javier Lancha: We are experiencing changes in both, the port and in any other business sector related to the disruptive process of digitalization, which has increased access and opportunities, has increased complexity, and—above all—has created an exponential change in the perception of urgency for everything short term.
We are seeing a transformation in which the consumer seeks to have accessibility, connection, immediacy, and in that sense, this is where our focus is. Likewise, we are experiencing changes in infrastructure, modernization of facilities, new commercial routes, and economies of scale. This transformation will take us from the infrastructure manager to the service manager in an integrated manner.
Today, we see how warehouses, terminals, railroads, cold chains, customs services, mooring and tugboats are efficiently integrated for sea and for land, with the customer at the center. At APM Terminals, our clients are at the heart of our strategy, so we always think about getting ahead of their needs, integrating their logistics chain and adding value to their initial proposal.
Paul González-Morgan: Please tell us about your favorite ship.
Javier Lancha: I could not define which one is my favorite vessel, as there are a variety of types and models with a range of different features; they are all really impressive. But what I can highlight is that I have been lucky enough to live and see the transformation of mega ships.
We are currently living this process in which the ships are adapting to the new needs of the market. In Algeciras, I had the opportunity to lead the modernization project to adapt the terminal so that it could receive vessels such as the Triple E, considered one of the largest in the world. This has been rewarding, in addition to being at the forefront of this transformation, being able to have them in front of me represents a great experience.
Paul González-Morgan is editor of Gibraltar Shipping, the premiere media shipping platform.