Sponsored by Living in Peru Real Estate
Henrik Kristensen, building Peru's port of the future
Henrik Kristensen, at APM Terminals, Callao
By Nick Rosen
Photos by Marco Simola
May 14, 2012
Produced on behalf of PromPerú
In July of 2011, APM Terminals took over operation of the old Muelle Norte terminal in the port of Callao. The company is planning to invest some $750 million to expand and modernize the port, and the man given the responsibility of the project is Henrik Kristensen, the Chief Executive of APM Terminals, Callao.
Mr. Kristensen is a native of Denmark, and lived and worked in several countries before arriving in Peru in 2011. He invited us into his office overlooking a vast sea of shipping containers, and we asked him to tell us a bit about his experience working here in Peru. What follows is an abridged transcript of that interview.
I first wanted to ask you what your experience has been, working with Peruvians, since APM Terminals has many Peruvian employees- how many?
Yeah, in fact, we employ directly 570 employees here at the terminal, but we also have around 650 stevedores that come in and work for APM Terminals on a daily basis. So, in fact, you could say we have around 1,200 people coming and going into APM Terminals, Callao every day.
How has the experience been, working with Peruvian workers?
I came into Peru, was flying in with the squad that was supposed to take over the port of Callao on the 1st of July, and I can only say that we have had a great welcome. I like very much working with the Peruvian people; they’re a hard-working people.
Do the workers have the necessary skills?
Most of the people have the skills. We’ve been fortunate to have, especially in the management positions, to have very high-skilled people…Most of the positions are run by Peruvians. We are not many, the expats here. I think we have four or five expats in the business, so that really means that most of the positions are covered by Peruvians.
Speaking for yourself, how has your reception been in Peru?
I think it has been great. It’s my first time in South America, but I have been living in Mexico, and when I compare Mexico and Peru- I don’t want to say anything bad about Mexico, because I had a good time there- but I just want to say that the experience coming into Peru has been much more warm.
I mean, I immediately made very good friends, also very good colleagues, and started to meet with business partners. I felt it was very easy to relate to them...
Where have you been able to visit in Peru?
We went on a long trip up to Cusco and Machu Picchu. We were driving up there, and we did that on purpose because we wanted to see the highlands. We wanted to experience the different climates and different cultures, also, from here near the Lima area to areas around Nasca and Ica, then up the mountains then up to the whole area around Cusco and the Valle Sagrado. That was a great tour.
Everyone in Peru loves to talk about food. Do you have any favorites?
I have a lot of favorites. I’m in love with ceviche, just like most people are, and of course the pisco sours. But I think really the big difference for Peruvian food is, first of all, the very high quality of natural products. So you have it fresh. I mean, I don’t know a place in the world that has as many microclimates as Peru has...Of course, then the fish, the fish is fresh and is coming right from the ocean. I think that is a privilege in itself, as these are not products that are processed, they are fresh products.
Before you took over in Callao, you worked on the social responsibility side. And that’s something you’ve continued here. Do you have any advice for people coming in here to Peru?
I think social responsibility is very important. The way we do it at APM Terminals, just as an example, we work with a triple bottom line: so, we focus on the economic impact, we focus on the environmental impact, and on the social impact…
So I can only advise to companies that they should focus more towards sustainable relationships, which means not only the way you run your business and how you do it, but also to listen very carefully to the neighbors that you have, and ask the neighbors a little about what they think about your business.
In fact, for us, it’s important to say that when we come in here and have a concession for the next 30 years, we plant our flag in the sand and then we build out of the sand, we build a new port. And this port is going to last 100 years. Why am I saying that? The port we have here, it was built, the starting of this is 1929, so almost 100 years, or at least 80. So we are building a port for the future.
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Total coments: 7
Commented By: wpalomino
On: May 14, 2012. 4:03 pm
It's true that business in Peru is unique. From the 1200 workers in this company, more than 50% are informals. It means they have no labor rights such as job security, health benefits, vacation, etc. and they work beyond the 8 hours without compensation. Add to this explotation the meager taxes they paid and environmental impunity.
Commented By: demostenes
On: May 14, 2012. 4:38 pm
Fantastic article... but he conveniently forgets to mention that this privatization has been widely questioned from all quarters in Peru, basically because they have not paid a dime to get all the assets from the former national port company of Callao, his company only put a promise to invest, "sometime" within the next 25 years (yes, I saw their presentation!), an ungulible amount of money... (hence the title "the port of The Future??). Also, he doesn't mention that as part of the package, they got a legal monopoly on grains and cars cargo, putting several local small stevedoring companies out of business overnight without compensation... the whole deal smells very fishy...(and it ain't the fish in the harbor!).
Commented By: JJCHAVEZ
On: May 14, 2012. 4:42 pm
a lot of talk about safety and other great things... but he doesnt mention the three union workers that have died in accidents since the company took over... one accident can happen, two is bad enough, three is a management fault!
Commented By: jimmyjames
On: May 14, 2012. 9:02 pm
"social RESPONSIBILITY". "SAYS" he listens..... WILL HE REPLY!?!?! The neighbors are SPEAKING
Commented By: Ronald
On: May 14, 2012. 9:13 pm
DPW (Muelle sur) moved 1.2 m TEU last year, APMT some 0.4 m. Total 1.6 m TEU. In 2006, container ships where bypassing Callao. In that year Callao moved 0.8 m TEU and was congested! In 4-5 years Callao will be moving some 4-5 million TEU and be the largest container port south of Panama! Can anyone imagine what the situation would be if ENAPU would still be managing Callao? Disaster!
Commented By: gongora.mb
On: May 17, 2012. 8:58 am
Thanks for your compliments towards Peruvians. We may be warmer than other Latinamericans mainly because we do not fear competition nor feel threatened by foreigners taking our jobs; unlike many of our regional neighbors, we are willing to share our knowledge and admit our limitations without any complex, and have a high teamworking spirit as long as we are treated with respect and consideration. WELCOME to the land of laborious people!!!
Commented By: leonori,
On: October 3, 2012. 1:11 pm
A GREAT WAY OF HAVING TALENTED AND GOOD PEOPLE IN PERU. WHAT A BLESSING, WE CAN ONLY BE THANKFUL.
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