In a dialogue with Colombia Energía, Silvia Escovar, president of the Terpel organization, informed us of her opinion regarding the transformation of the organization, the main achievements and challenges to be achieved regarding the 50 years of the organization.
Terpel is one of the largest companies in the country and has a presence in several Latin American countries, such as Ecuador, Peru, Panama and the Dominican Republic. How do you project the future of Terpel?
Throughout its 50 years of history, Terpel has managed to transform itself by adapting to the new realities of the market and consumers. Our focus on people has prompted us to break paradigms and innovate so that a moment of everyday life – such as tanking – becomes extraordinary. We will continue to expand our service strategy and consolidate our operation in the countries where we have a presence. We will continue working to maintain leadership in the fuel and lubricant distribution sector in the region and continue to surprise our customers and consumers with experiences that allow us to take root as the No. 1 brand in their hearts.
One of the company’s most outstanding efforts has been the renewal of its EDS so that they are more modern and with a strong Colombian character. How is this work progressing to update the organization’s ESD?
In Terpel, people are the center of our strategy. Under the premise “we serve people, not cars” we have innovated and today we propose an integrated offer beyond the tank, thus generating memorable experiences for those who go to our service stations. We have built stations with a modern infrastructure that contributes to the spaces where it is installed; with landscaping and led lighting that generates a comfortable and safe environment; with clean and open bathrooms for everyone. We implement stores where Colombians can find food according to the tastes of the region and spaces designed for transporters. We have laundries with music, kiosks between the suppliers and outside them, renovated lubricants and islands specially designed for motorcyclists.
We closed 2017 with 64% of the network’s EDS with a new image and 39 exclusive motorcycle islands throughout the country. Through Altoque stores, we consolidate ourselves as the largest network of convenience stores in service stations with 40 outlets where Colombians can pause their way, find the best typical food in each region and have a local, latin and home experience in the main cities and trunk of the country. On the other hand, we have opened 12 car wash points with demineralized water that generate a unique user experience; six kiosks for consumers to purchase products without getting out of their vehicle and 18 renewed lubrication centers with a professional service of experts dedicated to car care.
In these 50 years of Terpel, what have been the main achievements?
There are several achievements we have achieved in these 50 years. The most significant is to be today the preferred brand for consumers in the fuel distribution market, having competed with leading international brands. This, coupled with our character of Aliado País, is currently one of the companies that contribute most to Colombia in different aspects that transcend the commercial.
Additionally I would mention some that have been milestones in our history:
The merger of seven regional companies in a large national Terpel.
The creation of the Terpel Foundation to accompany Colombia to overcome one of its most pressing challenges: education.
The internationalization process: the arrival in Ecuador, Panama, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
The acquisition of the company and the gazel brand to expand our service portfolio and provide our customers with a sustainable mobility option through vehicular natural gas with the first loyalty program in the sector.
The effective implementation of the strategy with a focus on people with all the innovations that this has implied and that has, among others, loyalty programs, exclusive motorcycle islands, convenience stores with regional specialties, laundry rooms with music and demineralized water, unique infrastructure designs, impeccable bathrooms, etc.
He entered the public stock market and the first bond issue.
The inscription of Terpel’s share in the Stock Exchange. This positioned us as one of the main private companies in Colombia.
The entry of Terpel to the list of the companies with the best performance in sustainability, in the world: in 2016 and 2017 we were included in the annual report of RobecoSAM, the most complete and recognized publication on corporate sustainability.
Given the rise of electric cars in other countries, is the organization you lead planning to adapt EDS for this type of vehicles in the future?
In Terpel we are always thinking about the future to anticipate what the demanding and changing world in which we live today demands. Electricity as a source of energy for mobilization is a challenge that is on our agenda and we have effectively advanced actions to have future power stations in the country. However, it is worth noting that the future of electric mobility will depend on its massification that still, in our country does not look so close to a great extent (according to the Colombian Association of Motor Vehicles, because the total cost of an electric vehicle or Hybrid is not competitive versus a conventional fossil combustion.
Thus, the challenge is to promote an energy transition towards sustainable systems that are viable and cost-effective. This transition involves reducing energy consumption and making use of fossil fuels of high quality levels.
What is the best way to integrate more environmentally friendly energy sources to industrial development and the transport sector?
As I was saying, it is important to continue researching, as indeed it is being done, new clean and competitive energies for mobility in the world. However, I believe that replacing current sources is not necessarily the only alternative: improving the quality of current fuels is equally important and beneficial. Biofuels with mixtures of ethanol and palm oil such as those that are being demanded in Colombia are increasingly a response to environmental and health needs in the country.
Likewise (in the specific case of Colombia) to promote, as we have been doing for several years in Terpel, the use of NGV in public transport vehicles, is to diversify the matrix with a more environmentally friendly option. The use of vehicles with NGV engines for the transport of cargo and passengers (buses, delivery trucks, garbage collectors and cement mixers), improves air quality and, therefore, public health by reducing particulate matter which is considered as the main agent generating respiratory diseases.