APM Terminals won the right to build and operate a deepwater container terminal at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas, a $900 million project central to the Mexican port’s bid to compete for U.S. international shipments.
The company said in its announcement Thursday it will undertake a phased plan to design, finance and build an expansive facility, with the first phase to open in the first quarter of 2015 on 106 acres and including two berths.
When completed, the full site will take in 252 acres on the Pacific coast with four berths and nearly 5,000 feet of dock space. It also will include an on-dock railyard Mexico’s port officials believe will be key to attracting container business going in and out of the United States.
“Our vision is to make Mexico’s infrastructure more competitive by investing $900 million that promises to create significant economic benefits nationwide to lift Mexican business and society through a stronger port,” APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer said in a statement. “This new port will increase the country’s international trade competitiveness, attract more foreign investment and reduce logistics costs through higher operational efficiency.”
The port, along Mexico’s West Coast, hopes to compete with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for container traffic tied to the U.S. interior. The port already has service from Kansas City Southern Railway but many shipping industry executives believe the relatively remote Lazaro Cardenas is a long shot to lure business from the U.S. ports.
Still, Canada’s Port of Prince Rupert has gained traction with its rail connection to Chicago and the Lazaro Cardenas, with a 54-foot-deep channel that APM plans to take to 59 feet, may also challenge U.S. East Coast ports for inland-connected container business.
APM Terminals says its agreement for the TEC2 terminal includes a 32-year concession. The site will include five super-post-panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes and equipment to transfer boxes directly to rail. “The on-dock railyard is a key defining feature of the terminal in the market designed to allow shipping lines to pre-stow intermodal cargo for direct transfer to rail, which is not an option presently offered at other terminals,” APM said.