Spain , Mexico and Ecuador

Spotlight: Barriers to digital transformation in the mobility and logistics sectors

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Connectivity gaps and low technology adoption are the main barriers to the digital transformation of the mobility and logistics industries in Latin America.

In Ecuador, almost 94% of companies are connected, but the use of tools such as electronic banking reaches only 47%, while only 13.9% of companies buy supplies online, industrial and territorial competitiveness undersecretary María Cristina Solís said during a workshop of financial corporation CAF as part of the Latin American Digital Transformation Congress (CLTD).

Similarly, while 50% of the population is banked, only 30% uses a debit card. 

"The digital transformation of infrastructure does not make sense if citizens cannot access its benefits," said Julián Gómez of consulting firm Tachyon.

Access to connectivity is also a fundamental issue. Brenda Escobar, director of Mexico City’s connectivity and telecommunications infrastructure center, highlighted that the city deploys public Wi-Fi to guarantee internet access.

She also said public works focus on creating fiber optics infrastructure that enables development of technologies such as 5G.

"Connectivity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for [digital transformation]," said Santiago Bassols, CEO of the Barcelona-Catalonia Logistics Center, an association that promotes Catalonia as a logistics platform.

Bassols said IoT and sensor technologies are necessary, as are big data and artificial intelligence in the infrastructure layers. He added automation and robotization for merchandise management, information exchange and autonomous mobility are key technologies to promote the sector’s digital transformation.


A 2019 logistics roadmap will attract investments of US$4.25bn in the coming years, 87% of which are public-private partnerships, Solís said. But Ecuador must reform the law of public-private alliances to promote its development.

The government also focuses on regulation for electronic commerce, telecommunications and the elimination of retentions for digital payment methods, initiatives that could promote technological development.

Gómez, meanwhile, said regulations for the use of blockchain should be created to allow this technology being used in logistics contracts.

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