The freer flow of goods and services among countries in a 2005 Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) will be difficult unless Latin American countries can better develop their logistics infrastructures, said Maria Rey, academic director of the Latin America Logistics Center (LALC) in Atlanta.

Ms. Rey addressed this issue at the GlobalFax Atlanta Summit of the Americas conference at Goizueta Business School at Emory University last week.

          Shipping and transportation expenses for companies in Latin countries make it difficult for goods and services to flow smoothly between the U.S. and its Latin trading partners, said Ms. Rey. While the U.S. spends 8% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on logistics, Brazil, for example, spends 22%, she added.

          “We need a way to connect North and South with transportation and infrastructure,” Ms. Rey noted. Although trains from Chicago to Argentina are an impossibility, policies such as ‘open skies’ for cargo flights, liberalization of ports and financing for building better logistics infrastructures in Latin America are a necessity for North-South trade, she added.

Ms. Rey and the LALC will address these issues at the Logistics Congress of the Americas 2001, a three-day conference April 25-27 in Panama City. Topics will include the globalization of the markets, the virtualization of the economy and the need for collaboration between logistics organizations and individuals. See for information regarding the Panama conference.

The Latin America Logistics Center is an education and research center for logistics in Latin America. It offers training programs in Spanish, English and Portuguese, customized to the needs of the Latin American region and its logistics managers.

          Contact Ms. Rey at (770) 240-5317 or visit for more information on the LALC.