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Increase in short-sea shipping between USA and Mexico?

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Short-sea shipping between Southern California and Mexico likely to increase with the construction of the port at Punta Colonet? Yes, maybe, but at a cost of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2007
      Short-sea shipping between Southern California and Mexico likely to increase with the construction of the port at Punta Colonet?
      Yes, maybe, but at a cost of lost employment and commerce for California ports.
      What is going on here is the construction of the infrastructure for the NAFTA Super Highway routing trade destined for elsewhere in the USA and on to Europe away from USA West Coast ports. This highway to be constructed through Mexico and America's heartland and on to Canada has incredible ramifications - most to the ultimate determent of our nation's economy and our national sovereignty.
      Talk to me if you are not familiar with this grandiose scheme and the desire of the administration and international bankers to encourage the formation of a North American Union patterned after the European Common Market. Better yet do a web search with visits to the John Birch Society and Eagle Forum websites.
      DailyBreeze.com LAX to L. A. Harbor
      Mayor urges Mexico port tie
      Los Angeles' Villaraigosa urges an alliance rather than rivalry for Asian business.
      ยป RELATED STORY: Ex-trade chief says ports need to grow
      By Art Marroquin
      Staff Writer

      Ports in Mexico are expanding at such a rapid pace that the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors should find a way to seize the opportunity rather than fight over anticipated increases in Asian imports, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday.

      The best way to do that, he said, is to develop new trade routes through "short-

      sea shipping," a process that uses smaller freighters to haul cargo between Mexico and Southern California ports.

      A strategic alliance, rather than a contentious rivalry, would benefit economies on both sides of the border, Villaraigosa told about 100 people attending the first Mexican Pacific Ports Conference, being held this week in San Pedro and Long Beach.

      "You have relationships with ports all over the world, and you don't have one with a port just north of you in a city and a region where half the people come from Mexico or Latin America," Villaraigosa said during a luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro.

      "This is a city that should be strategically located and benefiting from those relationships," he said. "I think the opportunity that comes with this conference is figuring out the opportunities … that come from short-distance shipping and make it a reality."

      Proponents of short-sea shipping say the plan would keep goods moving through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while also allowing Mexico's growing ports to cash in on its own domestic growth.

      The plan would also help pay for improved roads, railways and other infrastructure needed in Mexico, said Cesar Reyes Roel, general coordinator of Merchant Marine and Ports in Mexico.

      "We have short-sea shipping routes already operating within Mexico, but I hope we can expand this idea with the United States," Reyes Roel said. "We don't have the proper railroads or roads to ship goods up north any other way."

      For now, about 1 percent of the $14 billion trade economy between the United States and Mexico is handled by short-sea shipping.

      Mario Cordero, president of the Long Beach Harbor Commission, said both countries could share in economic growth and efforts to reduce diesel emissions caused by big rigs.

      "Mexico's domestic market is growing, but I think it's fair to say that with the rate of growth that we're experiencing, there will be enough business on the West Coast for everybody," Cordero said.

      "Moving goods from Mexico and up the coast would be a lot more environmentally friendly. It would keep trucks off the roads, which means less traffic and pollution at the ports."

      Economists have warned that the time is ripe for Mexico to poach Asian imports from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

      That's because the twin ports have been slow to expand infrastructure capable of handling more cargo, compelling shippers to look elsewhere.

      The twin port complex handled about 15.8 million units of cargo last year, accounting for more than 40 percent of the nation's imports. That number is expected to double by 2020 and triple by 2030, according to economic projections.

      "If Long Beach and Los Angeles fail to grow anytime soon, then the Asian companies will naturally move south to Mexico," said Paul Bingham, an economist who tracks port economies for Global Insight Inc. in Waltham, Mass. "Mexico is ready and willing to handle that."

      Earlier this year, Mexican officials unveiled a plan that calls for building five new ports and modernizing 22 others by 2012. The most ambitious is a proposed mega-port complex in the Baja California town of Punta Colonet, about 150 miles south of Tijuana.

      The $6 billion Punta Colonet plan calls for building terminals along 20 miles of coastline, rivaling the combined size of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Plans also call for building a rail line from the port to the U.S. border.

      Despite Mexico's overt efforts to snag growing Asian imports from Los Angeles and Long Beach, some said the growth could be shared on both sides of the border.

      "I have seen the numbers and we cannot do it all, so I support port projects everywhere," said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

      As a precaution, Villaraigosa and S. David Freeman, president of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, signed a memorandum in May calling for increased communication and cooperation with Mexican port authorities.

      Villaraigosa had to cut the trip to Mexico short when he found out about the melee that broke out between demonstrators, journalists and Los Angeles police officers during a May Day rally at MacArthur Park.

      Villaraigosa said he hopes to return to Mexico at the start of 2008 to check on progress at the ports and to complete the interrupted trade mission.

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