ENGINEERING CREATED CENTER TO SUPPORT EXPORTS LOGISTICS

THE INITIATIVE WILL BENEFIT SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANIES IN THE FOREIGN TRADE SECTOR TO HELP THEM IMPROVE THEIR PRODUCTION PRACTICES.



January 05, 2017

With the signing of the start of activities memorandum, the Technological Logistics Extension Center, awarded by Corfo to the Department of Engineering, last September, was launched. 

The initiative aims to support the processes related to foreign trade in the logistics and transportation area of the products of the Central Zone, from the Maule Region to the Lakes Region, going to external markets. This objective will be reached through the joint work of the five universities involved in the project led by the UTALCA, including the universities of Bío Bío, Católica de la Santísima Concepción, de la Frontera and Austral de Chile.

"We want to make an impact on, and give support to, mainly small and medium-sized companies in their ability to innovate and adapt to new technologies, to contribute to their development. We hope to reach a large number of them, so that this will have a positive impact on the economic development of the country," said the director of the project and academic from Engineering, Alfredo Candia.

The Extension Center has, in addition, the support of private organizations, such as the Empresa Portuaria Talcahuano San Vicente (TSV), the Confederación Nacional de Transporte de Carga de Chile (CNTC), the Corporación para el Desarrollo de Malleco, the Asociación Gremial Armasur and the Cámara Marítimo Portuaria de Chile A.G (Camport).

The total cost of the initiative is around 1.3 billion pesos (US$2 M, approx.) for three years. Of this amount, close to 900 million (US$ 1.3 M, approx.) will be provided by Corfo and the rest will be managed by the institutions themselves.

"This project is very important for the University and its ties with the environment. Our academics have been working on logistics issues since a while ago and it is very important that such knowledge does not stay in classrooms or laboratories, but that is transferred to those who will make good use of it, which in this case are the companies of the exports sector," said the Vice President for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Gonzalo Herrera.

In addition, he appreciated the coordination achieved with other Academic Institutions from the South-Center zone in associative projects that seek to impact and improve the competitiveness of this zone, such as the Engineering 2030 project and others that are being developed. 

Professor Candia highlighted the work done by the professionals involved in the Engineering 2030 project, who supported the creation of the project, which also involves the three Departments of Engineering linked to the Macro-Department (UTALCA, UBB and UFRO).

Extension

The new center is part of the “Technological Extension” line, implemented by Corfo in 2015, which aims to domestic companies to acquire best productive practices and strengthens their capacity to intefrate technologies in different areas, so as to enhance their development.

The idea is that the beneficiary institutions take responsibilities in creating a space for the diagnosis of problems, and then deliver real solutions that help them reduce their productive and technological gaps.

"We seek to generate units capable of meeting the challenges of production in small and medium-sized enterprises linked to sectors and territories. In the specific case of this Extension Center, the work being developed between the participating universities that are located in this Central zone is very favorable, which enhances the impact capacity of the center," said the Corfo’s Innovation Manager, Patricio Feres. The initiative awarded to the UTalca is one of the 11 extension projects that are developed in Chile.

According to the OECD, the process of transporting the export products of its member countries takes 10 days, on average; a cycle that in the south central zone of Chile can exceed 20 days. "There are several studies that explain the problems the transport of export products have: road conditions the routes used, the loads that are not well adapted to the trucks, transportation with no communication technologies, inadequate access to ports and other situations that make distribution times less efficient," explained Candia.



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