Target Logistic Services, an international freight forwarder and logistics provider, is expanding operations into Central America with the selection of Arce Campos as its exclusive agent for that economically growing region.

Arce Campos, headquartered in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and now in its 36th year, is considered one of the leading transportation and logistics companies in Central America. With more than 100 employees and a full service office in Costa Rica’s principal seaport, Puerto Limon, in addition to satellite branches throughout the seven nations comprising Central America, Arce Campos offers a wide range of logistic services. These include air and ocean freight forwarding, customs clearance, project cargo services and local business and management services.

The new Arce Campos-Target Logistics partnership is under the supervision of William Casas, district manager at Target’s Miami office.

Announcing the appointment of Arce Campos, Casas stated, “Central America is becoming a growing target of opportunity for American exporters.” He noted that US exports to that region actually has outperformed overall US exports with a growth rate of 15% per annum. “Some $16 billion worth of US goods was purchased by the nations of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua in 2004, the latest full year figure,” Casas said.

An impetus for growing trade between the US and Central America is CAFTA or the Central American Free Trade Agreement. While passed by Congress, the agreement has not yet been implemented although negotiations aimed at putting CAFTA in force are moving ahead steadily. “Once CAFTA takes effect, the spigot really will open wide for trade between the US and Central America,” averred the Target manager. “We wish to aid shippers in this expanding trade.”

As Target’s exclusive agent in Central America, Arce Campos will handle both air and ocean imports and exports. While US-Central American trade traditionally has consisted primarily of industrial goods southbound with agricultural products flowing north, that situation is starting to change. Casas reports that a number of fledgling manufacturing operations, including electronic, apparel, textile and auto parts has begun in the seven nations comprising Central America. “Loads are becoming more balanced, particularly in air,” commented Casas.