On Monday, 27 February, APM Terminals Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico’s largest container terminal, welcomed its first official vessel, reports APM Terminals. The 9,600 TEU Maersk Salalah on the AC2 Transpacific service from Asia called the facility following the completion of its Phase 1.
The new deep-water semi-automated Lázaro Cárdenas Terminal 2 (TEC2) project, representing an overall investment of USD 900 mln, became Latin America’s most technologically advanced container terminal. Today the 1.2 mln TEU facility occupies an area of 49 hectares and has a quay of 750m in length and 16.5m of depth, deep enough to receive some of the world’s largest ships. By the final phase scheduled for 2027-2030 the terminal’s depth will be increased to 18m and the berth length up to 1.5km in a total area of 102 hectares. Its capacity will be 4.1 mln TEU. It will be operated by 15 STS cranes and 10 rail tracks, providing intermodal access. This will be APM Terminals second terminal in Mexico after Yucatan.
Mexico handles Latin America’s third largest container volume, behind only Brazil and Panama. In 2016, Mexican ports handled a combined 5.7 mln TEUs (+3.2%), up from 5.5 mln TEU in 2015, though the growth rate was less than in 2015, when the increase was 7.2%, far outperforming global container market growth.
Mexico is not only the second-largest economy in Latin America, but also one of the world’s Top 15 manufacturing economies, having become one of the world’s top five car makers. Manufacturing and the supply of components for Mexican factories for assembly and export to the USA as well as overseas, has become an increasingly important sector of Mexico’s economy since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) linked the US, Canadian and Mexican markets 22 years ago.
The United States is the destination of 78.8% of Mexican exports and also provides 49.1% of Mexico’s imports, followed by China (16.1%) and Japan (4.5%).
Jose Rueda, Managing Director for APM Terminals in Mexico, says: “Mexico is a core part of our strategy of investing in growth markets and building state-of-the-art facilities to run more efficiently the supply chain from the heart of Mexico to Asia and the rest of the Americas. The technology in this terminal will bring increased predictability and efficiency to our shipping line customers, whilst ensuring the highest levels of safety for our employees and supply chain partners.”
It is worth mentioning that competition is expected to be fierce at Lazaro Cardenas, as Hutchison Port Holdings operates another container terminal of 2 mln TEU here since 2003. After Maersk transfers its volumes to APMT facility, half of the port’s throughput will be handled there, which is currently about 1.1 mln TEU.