The enterprises of the Coffee Federation

The Colombian Coffee Federation has created and promoted various enterprises to further support and provide adequate service to the coffee growers. The most significant of these enterprises are the "Flota Mercanmte Grancolombiana", the "Banco Cafetero" and the "Compania Agricola de Seguros". Although some of these institutions have faced financial difficulties, and one has been sold, it is relevant to describe the nature of their services and performance.[21] [edit]Flota Mercante Grancolombiana The "Flota Mercante Grancolombiana" (Colombian ocean freight merchant fleet) was created in 1946, with the purpose of establishing new routes and offering better rates for the exportation of Colombian coffee, and thus, to make this commodity more accessible and affordable in international markets. At that time, the shipping consortium "Grace Line" dominated the ocean forwarding lines and had very high freight rates.[21] During the time of the postwar, "la Flota" (the fleet) facilitated the sale and shipping of increasing quantities of coffee to the European and Asian markets. In addition to the substantial reduction in freight costs, "la Flota" contributed significant dividends to its major shareholder, the "Fondo Nacional del Cafe" (the national coffee fund).[22] The globalization of world economies and the interdependence of the ocean freight industry during the decade of the 90s, made shipping business more efficient and competitive. Major shipping companies sought strategic alliances and partners. In order to compete in the global market, "la Flota", in 1996-97, entered in partnership with the "Transportacion Maritima Mexicana", a Mexican company with ample experience in oc an shipping. The "Fondo Nacional del Cafe" acquired 40% of the new company, called "Transportacion Maritima Grancolombiana".[22] [edit]El Banco Cafetero "El Banco Cafetero" (the bank of the coffee growers) was established in 1954 because "la Caja Agraria" (agricultural financial institution), also created by the Coffee Federation during the 1930s, was not providing adequate service to the coffee growers. This banking and financial institution was created with the purpose of facilitating and financing the production, harvesting, processing, transport and exporting of coffee and other agricultural products.[22] Eventually, the bank established over 300 branches throughout the country; its assets amounted to 10% of the nation's banking assets and handled over one million seven hundred thousand bank accounts. It became the third largest bank in Colombia, offering every financial services to all the industries and sectors of the national economy.[22] [edit]Compania Agricola de Seguros The "Compania Agricola de Seguros" (agrarian insurance company) was created in 1952. The Coffee Federation decided to establish this insurance company because the premiums being charged to its members to insure and protect the warehousing and transportation of coffee, by commercial insurance companies were ever increasing.[23] The company eventually extended its services to cover production risk and liability, hedging, calamity, auto, life and health insurance to all of the members of the Coffee Federation, offering if lower premiums and higher benefits. The company suffered heavy losses during the earthquake that destroyed Armenia, as this was a highly concentrated area of coffee growers.