Growing Mexico seaport to tap ICA for container terminal

ICA, the largest construction and infrastructure business in Mexico, will team with a Maersk unit on a $900m ‘greenfield’ cargo storage and transportation lot. Phase one of the project is slated for completion in 2015.

A bold $900 million seaport project under development in Mexico will engage construction and infrastructure outfit ICA.

The Port of Lazaro Cardenas, a rapidly expanding seaport in Michoacán, Mexico, contracted AMP Terminals to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain a ‘greenfield’ deepwater container terminal (DCT), named TEC2.

ICA, or Ingenieros Civiles Asociados, is partnering with AMP, which is the seaport terminal unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, the Copenhagen, Denmark, business conglomerate. ICA will in turn own 5 percent of TEC2.

A deepwater port, like Lazaro Cardenas, can accommodate a Panamax ship – a vessel sized for precise navigation through the Panama Canal. A container terminal is a port storage site where cargo can be transhipped for onward passage.

The contract has a three-decade-long concession. AMP is expecting to invest $900 million in TEC2, a project phased to first involve a $300 million infusion to build a 43 hectare container lot, along with an office building and warehouse.

The initial stage of TEC2, a four-part project, should reach completion in 2015. The terminal is intended to “attract private investment” in the port, and “make infrastructure more competitive” in Mexico, according to AMP. “In short: we simply believe strongly in the Mexico market,” AMP said in a press statement.

The port, named after Lazaro Cardenas del Rio, president of Mexico from 1934 to 1940, has become a major centre because of port congestion in California, as well as its relative geographical nearness to Chicago and Houston.

The port has been labelled politically contentious, spurred by an oft-repeated accusation that Mexico has sought to diminish lucrative trade between the US and China. Mexico has promoted Lazaro Cardenas as an ideal port-of-exchange between Asia and North America.

The port and China exchange 85 percent in import and 66 percent of export in container cargo.