Martin’s port city of Rosario: Trust, respect and football

Argentina’s port city of Rosario may account for nearly 70 percent of the country’s grain exports, but it is still a place with a sense of tight community.

In the 19th century, the construction of a port and major railway station here led to an economic boom and attracted waves of immigrants from southern Europe. Descended from such immigrants, Martin Spino, COFCO International Origination Manager, says growing up in Rosario taught him to trust, respect, and show kindness to others.

Martin Spino, COFCO International Origination Manager in Rosario, Argentina
Martin Spino, COFCO International Origination Manager in Rosario, Argentina

“The values ​​I was brought up with in my childhood are the pillars of my daily work,” he says.

“Here in Rosario I also learned to be adaptable and flexible.”

Martin's skills are put to good use in agribusiness in Argentina, the world's largest exporter of soybean meal and oil. At COFCO, his team of 25 is responsible for the origination of 14.5 million tonnes (MT) of agricultural commodities from all over the country each year, including corn, soy, wheat, sunflower seeds, and barley.

Martin Spino surrounded by colleagues from COFCO International’s Rosario office
Martin Spino surrounded by colleagues from COFCO International’s Rosario office

Martin's mission? To collect valuable commercial information including the market situation, production conditions and current forecasts. He does that by staying in close contact with his team and producers spread all over the country. That knowledge helps him to make projections about where the market is going, and to help the company and farmers make the best possible business decisions.

For three years running, COFCO International has been Argentina's leading grains exporter, building a reputation as a reliable and competitive partner. But with demand exceeding supply, the market is extremely competitive.

COFCO International's offices in Rosario
COFCO International's offices in Rosario

According to Martin, a graduate of International Trade and Business Administration, a relationship based on trust is the only way to make successful transactions in this environment.

“At the end of the day, both parties have to be happy,” he says. “Of course, the terms of the deal are important but in order to build a lasting business relation there must be a close rapport and a lot of mutual trust.”

A true Rosarino

Located 500 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean along the 4,880-kilometer Paraná River, which reaches up to Paraguay and Brazil, Martin's home city is a strategic location for the country exports and for COFCO as well.

COFCO's plant in Timbues, one of the main ports of Rosario
COFCO's plant in Timbues, one of the main ports of Rosario

But Rosario is much better known as the birthplace of the country's most famous football exports: Lionel Messi, Marcelo Bielsa and others.

Rosario is also birthplace of the Argentine flag. Here the National Flag Memorial (Monumento Histórico Nacional a la Bandera Argentina)
Rosario is also birthplace of the Argentine flag. Here the National Flag Memorial (Monumento Histórico Nacional a la Bandera Argentina)

A true Rosarino, family, friends, studies and his local football club Newell's Old Boys have accompanied Martin throughout his life, and helped him to build relationships with the farming community and business partners.

Martin Spino at Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, home of Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys
Martin Spino at Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, home of Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys

“Every day of life is like a new football match and we need to work together to win it,” he says, adding that he is especially happy that the company and the industry are leaving a positive mark on his home city.

“I am extremely proud of the work COFCO and my team do here,” he says. "I have a sense of contributing to the success of the company but also to the prosperity of my city and my country."

According to Martin, these fundamentals have also helped COFCO and Argentina to weather the pandemic's impact on agricultural supply chains. COFCO International has continued its operations uninterrupted while protecting the health of its people and preventing the spread of Covid-19.

"The pandemic brings uncertainty but our relationships make us - and our business operations - very resilient," says Martin.

For Rosario, Martin says, the virus is one more piece of history.

“This city is built by people who came in a search for better life,” he says. “That spirit lives on today.”