Randall Castillo Ortego leads development of Panama’s Colon Free Zone through BridgeMarkets

Randall Castillo Ortego leads development of Panama’s Colon Free Zone through BridgeMarkets

A platform to digitize and promote online trade of the businesses of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) is now in place. A national and international showcase was created to accelerate the economic reactivation, and recently began its phase of operations. BridgeMarkets has about 12 companies on its board and expects to continue its expansion in the coming months with the incorporation of more companies. Randall Castillo Ortega, a successful Latin American entrepreneur, is co-director of BridgeMarkets and was on hand for the inauguration.

The goal of the creation of BridgeMarkets is to make it the most relevant marketplace in the CFZ. It generates an opportunity for change in this market and allows both Colon and Panama to be more competitive. The platform of Panamanian origin hopes to respond to the needs that the commercial space has had for many years and that have been aggravated with the arrival of COVID-19. Explains Castillo, “BridgeMarkets began operations with its first phase or beta version that includes the period of attracting companies interested in offering their products online. The second phase includes the online sales stage, and is expected to start in the next 90 days.” The second phase will help generate traffic to businesses in the free zone. Simultaneously, the company expects to carry out phase three that adds a logistics component.

In the first half of 2021, the commercial movement of the CFZ grew 26.8% to stand at $8.22 million, compared to $6.498 million in the same period of 2020. Re-exports stood at $4.34 million, 28.6% more than in the first half of 2020, when they stood at $3.37 million. Imports, meanwhile, totaled $3.89 million, an increase of 24.8% compared to January- June 2020, when they stood at $3.11 million.

The CFZ identified in the digital transformation the way to improve the online shopping experience of its local and foreign customers, and therefore, launched BridgeMarkets, so it can improve its activities, which were aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform considered categories of the best-selling products in the CFZ to offer in its online space, such as pharmacy, fashion or textiles, white goods, home and more.

BridgeMarkets also seeks to promote and expand the reach of the businesses of the CFZ through correct digitalization. It also hopes to create digital, logistical and financial channels that optimize the commercial relationship between Asia and Panama (Latin America).

BridgeMarkets is a development of the company Golden Atlantic Group S.A., which aims to digitize the CFZ by creating technological products such as sales channels and mobile application. It is also implementing technology in the processes derived from online sales logistics processes and financial processes. It is backed by a group of professional entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the development of technological solutions for commerce and brand development, who have joined in this project in order to carry out its vision and mission.

BridgeMarkets has designed a set of plans that will promote the growth of digital commerce in the CFZ. Currently, there are four leading plans that are helping the endeavor target its objectives. The first is BridgeMarkets Plans, an initiative that creates plans specially designed so that all businesses can participate. Businesses can list their products within the marketplace and have advanced features to optimize digital commerce.

Photography services are also available. Asserts Castillo, “One of the most important factors when selling online is to be able to show the products in an appropriate and aesthetic way. For this, we have created photo product and lookbook services.”

Social networks have become the business card of businesses and people. In addition to being an excellent tool to reach the key audience and consumers of your product or service, good network management can drive the achievement of business objectives.

BridgeMarkets also offers packages of advertising spaces on our website and advertising specially designed for businesses in the CFZ.