The port of Lázaro Cárdenas. The port of Lázaro Cárdenas.

Capacity way up at Lázaro Cárdenas port

Port can move 49 million tonnes with opening of 10-billion-peso container terminal

A new container terminal was opened officially on Tuesday at the port of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, where more than 10 billion pesos (about US $533 million) was invested in a project that significantly increases the port’s capacity.

President Enrique Peña Nieto and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen officially opened the facility, operated by APM Terminals, the ports division of Danish multinational Maersk, the world’s largest container ship operator.

Lázaro Cárdenas is Mexico’s busiest port and considered one of Latin America’s most important.

“With this project we are practically doubling the capacity from 27 million to 49 million tonnes,” Peña Nieto said, while Maersk general manager Soren Skou stated that the semi-automated terminal will be the most modern in Latin America.

It has been designed to meet the needs of ships that carry up to 15,000 containers and will have the capacity to move more than 1.2 million of those containers per year. The world’s largest container ships, the Maersk Triple E class, can carry 18,000.

Skou recognized Mexico’s openness to trade, which he believes is a key to economic development. “Mexico is open to the whole world and is diversifying its exports. Our role is to facilitate and support global trade,” he said.

Prime Minister Rasmussen also recognized free trade as a key to economic success and, in a clear reference to tensions between Mexico and the United States, said that countries should destroy trade barriers and not build walls. “It’s not a zero-sum game but about giving everyone the chance to win,” he said.

He cited the globalization of Danish shipping companies as enabling them to reach a point where they are now transporting one in every seven containers worldwide.

Peña Nieto mirrored the words of his Danish counterpart by saying, “(With this project) we are reaffirming our commitment to free trade, to the opening up of the world, to the building of bridges that join us to other parts of the world and to this formula and mechanism that brings well-being to our societies.”

The capacity of Mexico’s ports has increased from 260 million tonnes in 2012 to the current 406 million. Peña Nieto’s goal is to further increase capacity to 500 tonnes by the end of his six-year term next year.

The new terminal at Lázaro Cárdenas is the first of a three-phase expansion at the port.

At 5 million containers per year, Mexico handles the third highest number of containers in Latin America behind Brazil with 9 million and Panama with 7 million.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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