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268Re: Mexico to open bidding for Punta Colonet port

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    Aug 31 11:36 PM
      "In the meantime, the project’s most immediate effects will be felt in tiny coastal villages near Punta Colonet. About 5,000 people live there now, but the port is expected to create a new city of 150,000 or more."
       
      Even the Boston Herald / Associated Press picked up on this monster project!
       
      Phelps
       
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      With an eye on US shipping, Mexico seeks new port

      29.08.2008 With an eye on US shipping, Mexico seeks new port
      President Felipe Calderon was opening bidding today for construction of a huge new seaport that could eventually rival the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest port complex in the United States.

      Mexico’s US$4 billion Punta Colonet project would transform a wind-swept Mexican bay 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of the U.S. border into a booming city, drawing freighters from Asia and funneling manufactured goods north.

      A planned railroad would link the port to the United States, allowing freight to skip Southern California traffic and head directly to points across the Midwestern U.S., including Chicago. Port designers have yet to determine where the tracks would cross the border.

      Punta Colonet should begin operations in 2012, with the capacity to annually process 2 million TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent units, a measurement used to estimate container traffic, said Jose Rubio, project director for Mexico’s Baja California state, which is working with the federal government to develop the port.

      Later expansions could grow Punta Colonet to several times that volume, he said.

      Los Angeles and Long Beach processed a combined 15 million TEUs in 2007 — some 40 percent of all freight entering the U.S., including 80 percent of imports from Asia.

      Mexico’s bid for a slice of the U.S. shipping market hangs on the continued growth of Pacific shipping traffic — now stalled by high fuel costs and a struggling U.S. economy. But long-term forecasts are bright: Long Beach expects its freight traffic to double by 2028, according to port spokesman John Pope, and the two ports plan to spend more than US$2 billion on infrastructure improvements to prepare.

      Punta Colonet hopes to steal away some of that new business.

      Yet while the California ports struggle to squeeze more traffic into their congested surroundings, their location in one of the continent’s largest urban areas is also an advantage. Roughly half of the freight that passes through Los Angeles and Long Beach is delivered right to Southern California.

      "There’s a certain amount of cargo that’s locally destined that really doesn’t make sense to ship out anywhere else," Pope said.

      The relatively remote desert around Punto Colonet, however, has no natural customer base. The port will rely entirely on its proposed rail line to the U.S. — which could stretch as far east as the Mexican state of Chihuahua, across from New Mexico and Texas, Rubio said.

      Punta Colonet would serve "more like a relief valve for us than a direct competitor," said Theresa Adams Lopez, spokeswoman for the Port of Los Angeles. "There are plenty of boxes to go around."

      In the meantime, the project’s most immediate effects will be felt in tiny coastal villages near Punta Colonet. About 5,000 people live there now, but the port is expected to create a new city of 150,000 or more, Rubio said.

      Providing infrastructure and services to those people will pose a challenge for Baja California, a state already struggling to keep up with staggering growth in Tijuana, where jobs in electronics and auto parts assembly plants draw about 90,000 new residents every year.

       Source: Boston Herald.com
      29.08.2008
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