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 MexiData.info, 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.

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