Sunday, December 12, 2010

Punta Colonet Mega-Port to be Bid in Spring 2011, Regardless of Panama Canal Expansion, Says Mexico Secretary of Communications & Transportation; Ferromex/Union Pacific Considering Bidding on Rail Portion

California’s container ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles will be over capacity, even when the Panama Canal expansion Is finished in 2014, says Juan Francisco Molina, Mexican Secretary of Communications & Transportation, and that makes the planned Pacific Coast mega-port at Punta Colonet all the more vital. Speaking on December 9, Molinar not only said that bidding for the mega-port will start in Spring 2011, he also said that the Mexican Government is committed to building the full-scale port it originally announced in 2004 – the 5,000 hectares port facility and city, complete with a power generation plant, a natural gas plant, hotels, industrial and commercial zones, housing, airport, highway and a rail connection to the U.S.  

Two days earlier, on December 7, the head of Mexico’s largest railway, Ferromex director general Lorenzo Reyes Retana, said his company and its U.S. partner Union Pacific are actively re-evaluating the Punta Colonet railroad project, based on the Mexican government’s new commitment to completing the mega-port construction. "We must re-examine the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, how they evolve, if they develop capacity to meet the additional traffic volumes that are expected, and on that basis will announce a new position” on our intent to bid for the railway construction and operation, he said.

Retana noted that Ferromex had expressed interest in participating the project in 2008, when tenders were announced and the government said it was poised to invest 50 billion pesos in the mega-port. Contracts were to be awarded in September 2009, but the global economic crisis caused the entire project to be put on hold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mexican Container Shipping Recovers to Record Level, Punta Colonet Mega-Port Next

Dow Jones is reporting today that Mexico expects container traffic at its ports to rise 26% this year (2010) from 2009 to 3.62 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, reflecting a sharp recovery in trade as well as public investments to increase capacity. Numbers were provided by Mexico’s Communications and Transport Ministry. Container traffic at Mexico's ports this year is expected to surpass the previous record of 3.32 million TEUs, set in 2008.

Trade has been a key part of Mexico's economic recovery, with exports in the January to October period rising 32% from a year earlier to $243.31 billion and imports up 30% to $246.11 billion.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Punta Colonet Mega-Port to Launch in 2011, Says Mexico’s Secretary for Communications & Transportation

The Mexican government will finally launch in 2011 the tender for construction of the long-delayed mega-port at Punta Colonet, on the country’s Pacific Coast, Secretary of Communications & Transport Juan Francisco Molinar announced on November 17.

Punta Colonet will take advantage of the transpacific trade, linking U.S. markets with Asian exporters, and competing with the ports of Long Beach and Panama.

The Mexican government plans to invest at least two billion dollars to develop the container port on more than five thousand acres, located 130 kilometers from Ensenada, and 240 from Tijuana.

Participating in a meeting organized by the Asociación de Terminales y Operadores Portuarios (ATOP), Molinar said that after the global economic crisis of 2009, there has been 30% growth to September of this year. "I think we're on the right track to put Mexico on the logistics platform," he said.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


Jose Rubio Soto, Mexico’s Executive Coordinator of the Punta Colonet Multimodal Project, said yesterday that planning for the mega-port 130 miles south of Ensenada is completed, and construction will begin in 2011. Bids will be accepted in the first quarter of 2011. Speaking at a Tijuana Innovation forum, he said the project is Mexico’s #1 infrastructure initiative, and that 19 companies have expressed interest in bidding on its construction and operation. Depending on the final design that is selected, he said the cost could reach five billion dollars. The port is expected to handle six million containers per year, mostly from Asia and destined for the U.S. and Canada; a new rail line will connect the mega-port with a U.S. trans-shipping center. The project involves 33,000 hectares plus 9,000 in reserve, and envisions port services areas as well as industrial, residential and business zones.   

Juan Molinar, head of Mexico’s Communications and Transportation Secretariat, in an interview yesterday with El Financiero, confirmed that improvement in the global economic environment has convinced his government to move ahead with the long-delayed Punta Colonet project. He said the tender for construction bids will be launched soon, and the project will be “scalable”, meaning it will be built in stages, growing over several years to its ultimate capacity of six million containers/year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Punta Colonet Mega-Port - Exclusive Status Report

We have just received an exclusive update on the status of the Punta Colonet mega-port from Barnard Thompson, editor of MEXIDATA.INFO, a respected e-journal covering Mexico and the Americas with weekly installments of commentary, opinion, news and information. Thompson writes:

While we have not seen or heard much on Punta Colonet in recent months, there has been some open source information of varying degrees of interest -- either at face value or perhaps reading between the lines.

A year ago, in October, when spokespersons for the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) were quoted in news reports, saying that conditions did not appear appropriate at the time for the Punta Colonet "Megaproject," we found it interesting that SCT Secretary Juan Molinar Horcasitas said the project was being "resized" (redimensionado), adding that supposedly this would not reduce the planned capacity but instead allow a more gradual development. It seemed to us that for whatever reasons and/or politics the project was being moved to a back burner as far as the SCT was concerned.

However, in July 2010, SCT spokespersons announced that the ministry is coordinating efforts to initiate the port and multi-module transportation system before the Calderón administration leaves office in 2012.  A possible contradiction – or maybe new instructions, yet one that suggests work is being done as a run-up to development and the bid processes.

On August 6, 2010, a coordination agreement was published in the federal Diario Oficial de la Federación that seems to suggest preparations are properly underway.  The accord, published by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), relates to ecological and environmental studies and reports -- including those required in state and local codes, and other requisite work, all of which are part of the processes for the project(s) to move forward.  The DOF agreement is signed by the secretary of Semarnat, the governor of Baja California, and the mayor of the Municipality of Ensenada (among others).

In what would appear to be a negative, in September 2010, the State of Baja California legislature passed a so-called "open sky" law.  A claimed intent of this legislation is to protect the observatory in the San Pedro Mártir Mountains from lights, and to control light production and intensity that might interfere with astronomical work being done at the observatory.  In other words, a serious concern would be the proximity of light from Punta Colonet, one would assume.

Later this month, on October 28 and 29, a major infrastructure-related conference is scheduled in Mexico City, at the Banamex Center.  The by all appearances important "Infrastructure Congress" will discuss the Calderón government's "National Infrastructure Plan" (PNI), and one would certainly expect Punta Colonet and the Baja California Multi-module System to be subjects at that event.

Barnard Thompson, editor of, has spent 50 years in Mexico and Latin America, providing multinational clients with actionable intelligence; country and political risk reporting and analysis; and business, lobbying, and problem resolution services.

Mexico Slow to Spend for Infrastructure

The Mexican Chamber of Construction Industry reports that from 2007 through the first quarter of 2010, Mexico’s government spent only 17% of the funds budgeted for 395 projects in the National Infrastructure Program. Of that, the largest expenditure (80%) was on energy projects (hydrocarbons), with just 20% devoted to ports, airports, roads, railways and water. This puts the lengthy delay in investment in the Punta Colonet mega-port project in context.

Friday, October 1, 2010

News Report on the Planned Punta Colonet Mega-Port

Here is an informative video news report on the planned mega-port at Punta Colonet, Mexico: