Transportation services imports to Mexico hit record high

Imports of transportation services to Mexico broke a record in the third quarter of 2022, at US$6,645.3 million.

International transportation can be provided by companies established in Mexico, even if they are foreign-owned (majority).

International transportation is also governed by international agreements signed by Mexico.

Mexico has agreements containing provisions on road transportation with Canada, the United States and Guatemala.

Cabotage, in terms of land transportation, is not allowed.

For international freight, the railroad system is used to import agricultural products (mainly corn) and containerized cargo, and to export automobiles and beer.

According to the Sector Program for Communications and Transportation 2020-2024, Mexico wants to promote the use of the train to reduce economic and environmental costs.

Transportation services

Foreign participation in rail services and infrastructure (where general railways are involved) is still limited to 49%, but foreigners may increase their participation, even up to 100%, if they obtain approval from the National Foreign Investment Commission (CNIE); according to the authorities, the CNIE has authorized FDI to exceed 49% only in construction projects.

Rail freight rates are not regulated. However, in 2020, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) determined that there was a lack of effective competition in the transportation of chemicals on 20 routes in the state of Veracruz. As such in 2020 the Rail Transportation Regulatory Agency (ARTF) began regulating the rates of the operators providing the service on the designated routes; this measure is still in effect.

The previous historical maximum in transportation imports to Mexico for a quarter occurred from April to June 2022, when they totaled 6,240.1 million dollars, according to data from the Bank of Mexico (Banxico).

Transportation services include passenger, freight and other transportation services provided by residents of one economy to residents of another economy.


In general, transportation is classified by mode (i.e., sea, air or other, which includes rail, road, inland waterways, pipelines, space transportation and electric power transmission).

These categories are also usually broken down by what is transported (i.e., passengers or cargo) and by other ancillary services related to the transportation of the above categories, and include postal and courier services.

Mexican imports of transportation services had the following sequence for the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, according to WTO data: US$15,699 million, US$14,572 million, US$11,101 million and US$18,553 million, respectively.

From January to September of the current year, these imports already total 18,336.4 million dollars.


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