Mexico bolsters ports to promote free trade, says president

Pacific coast Port of Lazaro Cardenas

Mexico is bolstering the capacity of its ports as part of efforts to promote free trade, President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

Pena spoke at the inauguration of a second container terminal at the Pacific coast Port of Lazaro Cardenas, in Michoacan state, built with an investment of 525 million U.S. dollars.

“If we are betting on free trade, on opening up more to the world — so goods made in Mexico can conquer other markets and world products, Mexico — we had to expand the capacity of our ports,” said Pena.

According to the president, when he took office in 2012, Mexico’s ports moved 260 million tons of goods a year, “and we proposed doubling that capacity to 500 million tons.”

Currently, the nation’s ports handle 406 million tons of merchandise, national agency Notimex said, with the new terminal boosting the Lazaro Cardenas Port’s capacity from 27 million tons to 49 million tons.

Danish firm Maersk will be operating the container terminal and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen was on hand for the opening ceremony.

“We must destroy trade barriers. We must not build new walls nor barriers, because it is not about a zero sum game, it is about the opportunity to give the entire world a chance to win,” said Rasmussen.

Pena also touted Mexico’s plans to create four Special Economic Zones “to spur industrialization and economic development” in the country, including in Lazaro Cardenas.

The port’s Container Terminal II features a 750-meter-long pier capable of handling cargo ships carrying up to 15,000 containers, the latest technology, and seven cranes capable of moving 1.2 million containers a year.    

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