Michele Porrino
Director General
WTC Industrial
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View from the Top

Industrial Parks Becoming Micro Cities for Tenants

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 11:48

Q: What were the main hurdles that you had to initially overcome to recruit companies for the industrial park?

A: WTC Industrial has gone through different cycles since we started in 2001 and is now entering an expansion phase. The rules are changing and we must keep up with the speed of the industry, ensuring that our infrastructure is prepared. WTC is negotiating with many potential customers and plans to double the industrial park to 700 hectares, adding a further 350 hectares onto the western side in the next two or three months. We may double that space again in the medium term, possibly further from our current facilities, but remaining within the industrial zone of San Luis Potosi. Only 15-20% of the current space is still available, and in a period of six months we expect no more than 20% of the new 700 hectare park to remain vacant.

Q: How have your priorities changed since the announcement of the BMW investment last year?

A: Approximately 70-80% of the new projects are related to the automotive industry, with BMW serving as a magnet that attracts even more companies. We are seeing interest from other industries, such as companies with manufacturing facilities in Asia that are interested in returning to the Americas. The automotive industry is growing rapidly in Central and Northern Mexico, with Nissan and Mercedes plants in Aguascalientes, KIA in Nuevo Leon, BMW in San Luis Potosi, and Honda and Mazda in Guanajuato. Additionally, GM announced that they will double their production capacity in San Luis Potosi. This entire zone is becoming a sizable automotive cluster, and we are in the ideal geographic position with the adequate logistics solutions to serve these companies. WTC Industrial is the only park with a customs office inside the facilities and with a multimodal terminal. Companies like Honda in Jalisco and Samsung in Queretaro are using our terminal to receive their components for manufacturing processes. We expect to build another terminal to handle liquids and general cargo so the existing terminal can focus on containers. We are also looking into the possibility of expanding outside of San Luis Potosi.

Q: Which strategies have you implemented to compete with other industrial parks in the area?

A: We are constantly looking at how to offer more amenities, in addition to the standard infrastructure of any industrial park. The free trade zone was something so innovative that many people predicted it would not be used, but now it offers a considerable competitive advantage. We use a large logistics company from Japan that just started operations, and another company managing Kawasaki is taking advantage of our free trade zone. Moreover, spaces created for corporate offices resemble a comfortable college campus environment. This office space is attracting companies that offer services to park tenants, such as customs, logistics, legal, and language services.

In order to provide a smooth transition upon arrival, we assess potential customers and offer headhunters, legal consultancy, accounting services, technical, and architectural services. We are opening a business center in our offices, so that our clients can rent offices or meeting rooms on an hourly or daily basis, and we will also provide virtual offices, a less expensive option to boost the professional image of a company. We are planning to host a hotel, a gym, and every facility that may be used by the tenants in the park to create a small city, and we are looking into the possibility of building housing within the park. Other industrial parks have already started implementing our solutions, such as the free trade zone. Nevertheless, it will be essential to devise new ideas to maintain our position at the forefront of the industry.

Q: Mexico is moving from a low-tech to a high-tech environment. What can WTC Industrial offer to ease that transition?

A: We can offer our services independently of the standard ones that industrial parks offer, hence creating an environment that will eventually attract other kinds of industries, ideally complex corporations. In order to professionally develop companies’ human capital, we are negotiating with different universities to sell their services inside WTC Industrial and the entire industrial zone. Our vision is to incorporate these aspects to create an ecosystem into which one day we could even add schools for the children of our employees. There is a huge opportunity for industries in Mexico, particularly in San Luis Potosi.