Port of Coatzacoalcos: the largest in Mexico

The Port of Coatzacoalcos displaced the Port of Manzanillo as the largest in Mexico in the first half of 2023, according to data from the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT).

While cargo handling at the Port of Coatzacoalcos had an inter-annual growth of 17.3% in the first half of this year, to 18.19 million tons, the Port of Manzanillo registered a 4.2% drop, to 17.14 million tons.

In Mexico, ports are inalienable, imprescriptible and unseizable assets of the State.

They are operated by Administraciones del Sistema Portuario Nacional (ASIPONA) and Administraciones Portuarias Integrales (API).

While ASIPONA/APIs can be public or private, foreign participation in an ASIPONA/API is still limited to 49% of the capital.

Private participation has historically been very limited.

Until 2021 the port of Acapulco was operated and managed by a private API, but in 2021 the concession was not renewed and the management of the port reverted to the State.

Today, all ports are operated by public ASIPONA/APIs.

ASIPONA/APIs must build and maintain the basic infrastructure, construct and operate the terminals, and provide port services.

However, works and services may be contracted, subject to federal laws regulating public procurement.

In addition, according to the Ports Law, service contracts must be put out to bid, but for technical, efficiency and safety reasons, they may be awarded directly.

Port of Coatzacoalcos

Other ports of note were the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, with cargo movement of 13.75 million tons, down 11.7% over the first half of 2022, and the Port of Veracruz, with 11.93 million tons and a 1% year-over-year drop.

The Port of Coatzacoalcos has the advantage of being part of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT), which is under construction, is located in the narrowest part of Mexico, covers a distance of 300 kilometers and represents a strategic logistical system for the country.

The CIIT will include a highway, a railroad, an electricity and fiber optic line, a gas pipeline, and 10 industrial parks, five of which are in the bidding process.


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