Location Spotlight: Seaboard Overseas Limited Colombia

Location: Colombia

Affiliate: SOL Colombia

Year Opened: 2008

Products/Services offered by SOL Colombia: 

The best way to describe what we do at SEABOARD OVERSEAS COLOMBIA (SOC) is by telling you “the story behind the grain” we trade. Each morning when the phone rings, one of our traders is confirming a new trade purchase, let’s say 50,000 MT of Yellow Corn. Subsequently, an email from the supplier/broker arrives attaching the proper contract with terms and specifications. Therefore, it is time for the merchants to start selling.

Our administrative department receives the contract and checks all the information in it to assure that we are fully covered in case of any possible scenarios that may occur.  With each sale, our futures and risk specialist start the exchange of lots, so we may have a proper price for every sale.

Once we confirm the purchases, and at the same time that physical sales are being made, the countdown commences and with the help of SBS (Seaboard Bulk Services) in Greece we start our search into the freight market.  This in order to find the most suitable vessel candidate for moving the cargo from the supplier to the receiver, always at the most profitable rate.

In the meantime, the operations department gets the show on the road and prepares all the previous documentation needed for every commodity that will be loaded. Each country we buy from – United States, Argentina or Canada; and each country we sell to – Peru, Colombia, Ecuador or Dominican Republic, has its own procedures, so our operations team has to be ready to organize the pre-load information and documentation to match the supplier’s requirements and the receiver’s instructions. By the time the vessel name is confirmed, most of the sales are ready and the pre-load documentation is then sent to the supplier in preparation for the loading process.

Then, it is time to load.  Once the loading process is complete each receiver is notified of the load amount being applied to them always maintaining contractual tolerances.  The receiver is advised and kept updated of the transit time in order to prepare for the cargo arrival and to make arrangements for payment prior to the vessel arriving at the port of destination.

On a typical vessel to Colombia, SOC does not only acts an international representative of SEABOARD OVERSEAS LIMITED but as a receiver as well for the local market. In these cases, we usually have both pending and/or prearranged local sales. For these we must prepare the national import logistics in order to deliver the commodities on time and at the most competitive price possible to the specific warehouse required.

After quantities, prices and discharge ports are confirmed, our accounting department joins the match and provides all the invoices required for our local sales. We are almost there when the vessel arrives to the discharge port and after what could be a hard week or a long month, we are finally ready to start all over again with the next vessel.

How many employees work at SOL Colombia?

SOL Colombia is a petite multicultural family, integrated by 35 amazing persons divided into four departments, but working as a synchronized team to achieve great things every day.

What are the typical daily challenges SOL Colombia faces?

On a typical day the team faces multiple challenges, which are mostly related to the current cultural differences between our suppliers, our customers, shipowners, national and international authorities. Every single day, we work to ensure that our customers receive exactly what we sold them, by using inventively the buying contracts and the freights available. Sometimes the office looks like a boxing ring, in which each trader represents one customer and the support departments give their best effort to maintain promises by carrying out the administrative reports, accounting requirements and execution procedures.

What is the latest project or improvement SOL Colombia went through?

Recently SOL Colombia entered the micro-ingredients market as a way to support our customers in the development of new and better solution for feed. Nowadays the micro-ingredients division brings 10 containers per month with a portfolio of 10 different products that are sold in the national market to an assorted amount of customers.

Are there any new projects developing at SOL Colombia?

As a growing company we are always looking for new opportunities and new markets to serve, our latest adventure will be COSTA RICA. By the first quarter of 2019 we are working in taking two vessels from CANADA to Puerto Caldera (COSTA RICA) loaded with three varieties of wheat. This new adventure requires a lot of preparation from all of us in every aspect of the operation, allowing the team to learn and discover new markets.