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Spending on ports keeps rising

Lloyds List: Spending on ports keeps rising

“Royal Dutch Shell, along with its partners, TotalFinaElf and Mitsui, is developing a $370m LNG import facility in Altamira.”

Wednesday Sept 28, 2005

Foreign cash in Lazaro Cardenas, Progreso and Altamira terminals

Private and public investment in Mexico’s port system is set to reach Ps$7.4bn (US$657m) this year, taking the total investment in port infrastructure to Ps$27bn in the last five years.

Foreign investors such as Hutchison Port Holdings, Terminal de Contenedores de Barcelona and Shell are driving this year’s favourable figures.

HPH is developing a container terminal in Lazaro Cardenas, TCB is developing the container terminal in Progreso and Shell is constructing a LNG import terminal in Altamira. In Lazaro Cardenas, HPH subsidiary, Lazaro Cardenas Terminal Portuaria de Contenedores (LCTRC), has started the construction of a 1.8m teu container facility to capitalise on growth in volumes for both Mexico and the US, investing upwards of US$500m.

The first phase, due to be ready in October 2006, is set to cost $100m creating a terminal capable of handling 375,000 teu. The 425 m berth will be equipped with three super post-panamax vessels of 22 rows across.

Total capacity following the completion of phase I will be in excess of 500,000 teu, placing it on a par with SSA Mexico’s terminal in Manzanillo and HPH’s Veracruz terminal, the largest container terminal in Mexico.

Royal Dutch Shell, along with its partners, TotalFinaElf and Mitsui, is developing a $370m LNG import facility in Altamira.

The plant is designed to handle the import of 5bn cu m (177bn cu ft) of gas a year or 3.6m tonnes of LNG over the 15-year concession. With twin storage facilities of 150,000 cu m each the terminal will be able to handle vessels of up to 200,000 cu m.

Construction, which started in 2003, is on schedule and the terminal, the first to be built in the Americas for 20 years is expected to open in October 2006.

In Progreso, the most recent terminal to be privatised, Terminal de Contenedores de Barcelona, agreed to pay Ps$483m to operate the facility over a 20-year concession.

The company has invested Ps$80m in the first two months of its concessions with the acquisition of two second-hand gantry cranes and other improvements.

The Mexican government is also investing to improve the infrastructure, according to Cesar Patricio Reyes Roel, general co-ordinator, ports and the merchant marine.

In Manzanillo, the port authority started a Ps$329m investment in July to improve road access to the port and the extension of berth number 15.

‘Without doubt, one of the most important ports in Mexico is Manzanillo which is the leading port in movement in containers and second place in grains and third in the movement of vehicles,’ says Mr Reyes Roel.

More than three-quarters of the investment comes from the private sector with the rest undertaken by the government. Investment has facilitated growth in the total volumes of cargo moving through Mexico of 16% during the last five years. Total volumes have increased from 63m tonnes to 73m tonnes with an important 45% growth in container volumes from 1.3m teu to 1.9m teu in the same period.

Cruise traffic has doubled from 3.1m passengers to 6.2m passengers.

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