Arup has opened a permanent office in Bogota aimed at high-impact engineering projects in Colombia.
Federico Torres, Arup's CEO in Colombia, said: "Having an office in Bogotá is a strategic measure, because whenever there are job opportunities for us in Colombia, our customers' first question is whether we have an office in Bogotá. We have worked on projects here for some time, but as we get settled in, our customers have the peace of mind of knowing we are nearby.”
The company began working on projects in Bogotá in 2007 at El Dorado International Airport. Other projects it has worked on include Torres Atrio and the Bogotá convention centre.
Torres added: "We have high expectations in Bogotá and Colombia. Our major interest is working on infrastructure projects in partnership with the National Government, which includes highways,airports and railway reactivation.”
María Claudia Lacouture, president of ProColombia, said: "Infrastructure is one of the five engines established by the Colombian government to boost the country's economy, because it is crucial to logistical development. To strengthen the sector, ambitious goals have been set in the road, airport, port, waterway and railway sub-sectors. Public investment in transport infrastructure has increased dramatically over the last few years. From 2010 to 2013, there was an accumulated investment of COP 22.4 trillion (£4.8 billion).”
Colombia has set about generating a favourable environment for the arrival of international infrastructure firms, with measures including support from the Ministry of Transport and the National Infrastructure Agency. Changes to legislation in recent years has allowed for more public private partnerships and the process of granting licences and acquiring property has been simplified.
Juan Gabriel Pérez, executive director of Invest in Bogotá, explained: "Bogotá has benefited from the nationwide infrastructure projects and has become a hub for companies providing services associated with the sector. Bogotá has a highly skilled workforce with experience in infrastructure development. Notable projects in the capital city have included the expansion of the Bogotá metro; the updating of the cable car, which links the city centre and the mountain of Monserrate; major works on Avenida Boyacá main road; and the introduction of an extensive network of cycle lanes in the city.”