Upgrades that will increase the handling capacity of the Contecon Manzanillo SA de CV terminal at Mexico’s Port of Manzanillo by 33 percent will be completed next year, boosting the port’s capacity amid concerns it struggles to handle peak season cargo surges.
The improvements are unfolding as the General Coordination of Ports and Merchant Marine, the Mexican department that oversees the ports, is putting together a $1.2 billion plan to expand Manzanillo — Mexico’s largest port — in a nearby area known as the Lagoon of Cuyutlán, a project that will include construction of a new container terminal with capacity of 1.75 million TEU.
The project is part of $2.6 billion in private and public investment over the next five years proposed by the Mexican government, focusing on Manzanillo, Veracruz — the country’s second-largest port — and the far smaller port of Progreso.
The expansion of Contecon’s yards and entry and exit gates, and investment in new technology and personnel training, will help boost the terminal’s capacity from 1.2 million TEU to 1.6 million TEU, according to the terminal operator, the Mexican subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI). In addition, the terminal will receive two new dock cranes and five yard cranes by the end of the year, the company said in an Aug. 29 statement.
The largest terminal at Manzanillo, SSA Mexico, last year completed a $50 million project that expanded the terminal by 17 percent to 2.1 million TEU.
Shippers and logistics providers say Manzanillo experienced truck congestion during last year’s peak season, while the port was described as “saturated” in a report last year by the Mexican Navy's Institute for Strategic Research. Contecon officials, however, say their terminal runs efficiently, blaming the problems on difficulties getting trucks in and out of the port.
Manzanillo’s cargo volumes for the first seven months of 2019 — 1.23 million TEU — were largely unchanged from the year-ago period, according to figures from the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT). Volumes increased 8.5 percent in 2018, to 2.2 million TEU, over the year before.