Maersk Line’s Cuban delight
In just a few years, Maersk Line has managed to secure volumes north of 23,000 FFE to Cuba. Key to the success is a direct route from Europe, a high service level and a commitment to the business ambitions of the Caribbean island, where international politics continue to impact the flow of trade.
Born in Havana in 1975, it was not until Sandra Aldama turned 35 that she began to understand, or as she puts it “had a glimpse of”, what it means to be an entrepreneur:
“I think it's a matter of what you can learn and how important it is to create something, giving value to work, learning to set goals and following your instincts. Learning how beautiful it is to bring an idea to life and enjoy the process,” she says.
2010 was a landmark year for Cuba. Sweeping reforms to open the economy were announced after the official policy had sought to “eliminate all manifestations of private trade” for decades. The reforms allowed more Cubans to own their own businesses – known as cuentapropismo – and Sandra Aldama was keen to take the jump.
Initially, her motivation was to be able to manage her time more productively, not only financially but also for her family and young son, and – equally important – to create something that would be her own:
“My dream was to do something unique, something that was different and new in Cuba,” she says.
During the first year, Sandra Aldama worked on various projects, including several natural cosmetics items, but none of the projects really fit the bill. Holding a degree in special education, she was also learning to run a business as she went along. After roughly a year of trial-and-error, she decided to concentrate on soaps, calling her business D'Brujas (By Witches).