PAMAS S.A.: German pioneer at the Mariel Special Development Zone

Photo: Maricela Recaséns

By Maricela Recaséns

Making contact with the Apels, a family of German businessmen who have been present in the Cuban market for more than 30 years, is very easy, you just have to set your mind to it. Father and son have the stamp of persistence, crucial when navigating the ups and downs of this Caribbean land.

Although it might not be the best time to invest in Cuba, Claus Apel and his son Frank Peter go against the wind. The economic crisis, sparked by the tightening of U.S. sanctions and a pandemic tourism freeze, has led to a sharp drop in hard currency income. However, since the 1970s, the dream of the father of the Apel family has been to create a company using German technology in Cuba in order to contribute to the island’s development.

Photo: Maricela Recaséns

“Hoses are needed everywhere, whether in thermoelectric plants, in the nickel industry, in water management or the operation of excavators and cranes,” Claus Apel told TTC after the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the inauguration of PASI Mariel Service, S.A. (PAMAS, S.A.) company, which opened its doors in the Mariel Special Development Zone in mid-2023.

“We can import, sell directly to the end customer and the customs duties and taxes are extremely low,” he added. “We are here to offer local customers not only sales, but also serices.”

Another of the Germans running the factory, Dieter Kalwayt, as stubborn as his partners, says he is very confident of success with the opening of the company and notes that a group of professionals and technicians were trained in Europe in the repair of industrial pumps and valves, as well as the installation of hoses of all diameters. “We are happy, and not only me, but the shareholders as well, just ask the Hansa Flex people,” he suggested.

Authorized to operate for a period of 30 years with one hundred percent German capital, PAMAS S.A. will use modern technologies for the development of its productions and for this purpose partners with Hansa Flex, market leader in Europe as a system provider for fluid technology in industry.

“We want to support Cuba’s economic development with our technologies, hopefully we can have many similar points,” Thomas Hamel, president of Hansa Flex, stresses. “Difficulties exist everywhere. We have a friendly bond with the Apel family and of course, we are also willing to help them to solve the difficulties that arise. And we are also very optimistic and very hopeful about positive development in Cuba.”

Photo: Maricela Recaséns

“PAMAS is Cuba’s gateway to Germany, through a business-level organization with management systems of high standards that benefit the Zone,” Ana Teresa Igarza, general director of the Mariel Special Development Zone Office, commented exclusively to TTC. “A facility that will guarantee the substitution of imports and give us the possibility of continuing to expand our business with Berlin,” the director of the most important enclave in the economic development of the Cuban archipelago stressed.

Located west of Havana, the Mariel Special Development Zone has become an industrial, logistics and services platform with committed capital from 21 countries.