During the last five years, Central American countries have increased their investments, both public and private, in order to attract more shipping companies to the region, and with it more trade and economic growth. Thanks to its geographical location, a clear competitive advantage, this region has access to two oceans, being the main trade route of the American continent. Through the oceans of this isthmus, approximately 80% of the merchandise is transported.

The country with the most visible logistics development in that region is Panama, followed by Guatemala and then by Costa Rica. In 2018, the World Bank ranked Panama in 41st place worldwide, according to the Logistics Performance Index, in addition, it is the second in Latin America and the Caribbean. Within the aspects evaluated to define said index, are: infrastructure, customs, competence of logistics services, tracking and tracing, among others.

The arrival of Industry 4.0 has forced these countries to increase their investments in improving infrastructure, incorporating new technologies and attracting more shipping companies; this with the aim of achieving better performance in the functions of loading and unloading ships in ports, being more competitive in terms of rates and maintaining stable communication between all the actors in the logistics chain.

However, despite the fact that several ports in Central America have achieved an acceptable performance in their functions, there are still many challenges that must be faced to guarantee an efficient result in their processes. Some of these challenges are related to the articulation between actors, the organization of the port community, the relationship with the city and the customs union of the region. The latter is perhaps one of the main points to consider, since customs have taken on a supervisory role with a special purpose in collecting taxes, relegating trade facilitation to the last instance. It is important that this entity acts efficiently by developing proposals focused on improving its processes, minimizing costs and time in procedures, allowing companies to achieve greater benefits from their commercial transactions.

On the other hand, the countries located in Central America have recently become strategic partners of the North American market, because thanks to their geographical proximity, their time similarity, their excellent air and sea connectivity and their highly qualified workforce, many of the operations of American companies have relocated to these countries, making use of nearshoring. On this issue, the leading country in the region is Costa Rica, as it is the one that has managed to capture the largest flow of foreign direct investment with the relocation of three companies to the country.

However, several experts have recommended that the region be sold as one, taking into account the needs of the interested investor or company, unifying efforts to present the value chains that Central America has, taking advantage of the CAFTA (Free Trade Agreement) Trade between the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States of America) and the free zones that these countries have.

To achieve this position, it is necessary for state governments to review the obstacles to trade that still prevail in the region. Investments must be promoted and bureaucratic policies that reduce the effectiveness of internationalization processes must be eliminated, allowing them to be streamlined electronically. In addition, regulatory frameworks must be strengthened in order to provide greater legal certainty to investors.