Thursday, May 20, 2010

U.S. State Department Promotes U.S. Business Participation in Punta Colonet Construction

The U.S. Commercial Service, a division of the Department of Commerce, is keen on getting U.S. companies to bid on contracts for transformation of the tiny Mexican village of Punta Colonet into one of the world's biggest container ports. A slightly out-of-date posting on the agency's web site says:

"The recent announcement of a tender to construct a new port at Punta Colonet in northwestern Mexico is a major step forward in Mexico’s National Infrastructure Program, announced in July 2007. This project will require an investment of over 4-5 billion dollars and is likely to attract U.S., Mexican, Asian and other international business interest. ... To submit expressions of interest in this project U.S. firms should carefully review the tender documents and be in touch with the U.S. Embassy Commercial Service for counseling and advocacy support.

"The Mexican Federal Government and the government of the State of Baja California have developed a project to build a multi-billion dollar port in Baja California to accommodate the ever-increasing trade between Asia and North America. They have identified Punta Colonet, located 50 miles south of Ensenada in northwestern Mexico, as the best location to build a new port. The location is currently lacking infrastructure and population, both of which will increase with the construction of the port.

"This project is being proposed to address the limitations of current ports to handle the increasing volume of cargo. Shipments from Asia have increased 15% annually and are expected to double by 2020 with China alone responsible for over 50% of the increase. Forecasts suggest that two of the largest American ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, are already reaching capacity. According to the Mexican Government, American importers, Asian exporters, and global shipping companies have expressed interest in port expansion on the Pacific coast.

"The port at Punta Colonet will be focused on cargo container movement from Asia for the American market. The port is projected to process initially about one million containers annually, with a potential increase to 8 million within the next 15 years. It would occupy 27,000 acres. Currently Mexico’s largest port on the Pacific processes about 1 million containers annually, in comparison with the more than 15 million containers processed annually by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The cost for this project is estimated at U.S. $ 4-5 Billion, and is being led by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), as part of the National Infrastructure Program (2007-2012). The Mexican Federal Government and the State of Baja California have already spent about five million dollars in different studies to determine the potential and feasibility of this project.

"Aside from the port itself, there will be major development in infrastructure, including rail, roads, an airport, public and private housing, a power plant, a natural gas terminal, and a desalinization facility, among other projects, with an estimated total cost of over US $20 Billion."

As Punta Colonet transforms from a village of 6,000 to a major port city of 300,000 (as planned by the Mexican government), companies will pay dearly for domains (web addresses) that will drive business to their websites. Learn more here.

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