Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Summit of the Americas

A 22-Year-Old Mexican Entrepreneur Wants to Fix Logistics

Nowports is targeting bottlenecks in Latin American trade, as demand for nearshoring increases.

This article is adapted from AQ’s special report on the Summit of the Americas

Alfonso de los Ríos grew up around logistics and technology, an experience that evolved into a startup he hopes will revitalize an industry that for him hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years. His company, Nowports, is already operating in multiple countries with plans to expand further, aiming to become a “backbone for business in Latin America.” 

AQ sat down with the entrepreneur to learn more about his involvement with the industry and the plans for Nowports’ expansion.

This interview was edited for clarity and brevity.

AQ: What is Nowports?

Alfonso de los Ríos: Logistics is about the 90% of things around us that were moved in a shipping container or a truck. But the industry is in the same place it was 70 years ago. My co-founder, Maximiliano Casal, and I started Nowports in 2019 to change the way this industry works. With our app, shipments can be tracked in real-time, and our smart containers allow customers to remotely monitor things like humidity and temperature. Clients can also manage costs and financing through our platform.

AQ: How did you get started in this sector?

AdlR: I’ve been involved since I was a kid. I’m from Monterrey, one of Latin America’s most industrial cities, and my family had a traditional logistics company. I was pretty geeky, and when I was maybe 12, I started programming websites and video games. Later, I just connected this with the family experience in logistics and supply chains. We started Nowports in Mexico and now operate in seven countries, with plans to expand, even outside Latin America.

AQ: What challenges do you face?

AdlR: The next few months will be about connecting all parties—customs, shipping companies, carriers—to get these complex systems to talk to each other. A lot of customers began to rely on Nowports during the pandemic, since we were the first to offer digital solutions. We realized that the industry has to become 100% digital; the question just became how to do that.

AQ: What excites you about the future of Nowports?

AdlR: We don’t want to be just a logistics player; we want to be a backbone for business in Latin America. I’m excited about the impact our model can have in terms of transparency, particularly in an industry and a region not known for that. When you make logistics more transparent, more agile and less susceptible to corruption, you get faster economic growth. That’s the ultimate goal that excites us. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ezequiel González Camaño is a former editorial assistant at Americas Quarterly, specializing in the cultural and ecological politics of the Southern Cone. His most recent work, a co-authored article on gender and ecological adaptation in Latin America, is currently forthcoming through Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Tags: digital commerce, Logistics, Nowports, shipping, Summit of the Americas
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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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