Silvano Solis
General Manager
Interpuerto Monterrey

Competitiveness as a Manufacturing Hub

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 17:22

Contributing 13% of Mexico’s GDP, the country’s northeastern region consisting of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas, is one of its wealthiest and most industrialized regions. With an industrial market primarily focused on production and manufacturing, companies based in Northeastern Mexico must be well connected with the rest of Mexico and the world, in order to be truly competitive. To meet this need, and attract yet more companies to the area, the government of Nuevo León decided to position the state as a logistics platform for international trade. Interpuerto Monterrey is the new business hub that embodies this ambition.

For Silvano Solís Vázquez, General Manager of Interpuerto Monterrey, one of the most important attributes of the project is its location. The site has access to power lines, natural gas pipelines passing along both sides, and an existing water treatment facility 7km away, which will be expanded to better serve the park. The major Mexican railroad networks of Ferromex and Kansas City Southern Railway also converge in the area. This last characteristic is very attractive for companies interested in having their facilities at Interpuerto Monterrey that rely on exporting their products. “Having two railroads at the site provides not only access to the train system, but also to the ports,” explains Solís Vázquez. “You have access to the four mayor ports in Mexico: Veracruz, Altamira, Manzanillo and Lazaro Cárdenas, as well as to major land crossings with the United States, such as Laredo, Brownsville, and Eagle Pass.”

Interpuerto Monterrey is strengthening its logistical advantages by creating a free trade zone and customs zone through a regime called Recinto Fiscalizado Estratégico (Strategic Financial Hub, RFE), allowing companies operating within the park to introduce, for a limited time, foreign, domestic or nationalized goods. These could then be subject to handling, storage, exhibition, sale, distribution, production, processing, or repair. RFE intends to increase Mexican competitiveness as well as to drive national trade. By being in a free trade zone, manufacturers would not have to pay taxes for the raw materials they use for the production of their products. Instead they pay the applicable taxes when the final product arrives to its final destination, in Mexico, the US, or anywhere in the world. This characteristic can attract solar panel manufacturers or other producers of renewable energy technologies that could find in the RFE the possibility to manufacture their products at lower costs before exporting them to their final markets. “Interpuerto Monterrey is also looking to obtain Mexican preclearance within its facilities so that companies can undergo this procedure at our facilitites and then cross directly into the US. We are even looking to have American customs procedures completed at its location but that seems harder to realize. If all this is achieved, companies will save time and money as trucks could drive straight into the US,” states Solís Vázquez. “This is certainly an asset for companies focused on exports that currently lose between 3 and 20 hours when their trucks are sitting at the border.”

Moreover, Interpuerto Monterrey is building a 3MW solar plant that will supply electricity to companies based on the industrial park, enabling them to use renewable energy without having to make the initial investment. The solar energy project will initially start with 1MW and will focus on powering the park’s street lighting, offices, equipment and infrastructure. The installation of the remaining 2MW will be carried out during 2014. Solís Vázquez predicts that by the end of 2014, the solar project will be up and running at its full potential. This capacity will add to the 140MW produced by a gas-fired cogeneration plant located on site. Interpuerto Monterrey also offers companies the possibility to develop a master plan for industrial development. Firms can acquire as much land and infrastructure as they need, with the certainty that there will be no zoning changes that could affect their long term operations.

Companies are not the only ones that benefit from this project. Because of the current labor market situation in Mexico, it is becoming increasingly hard for people to seek jobs outside their immediate communities. Parks like Interpuerto Monterrey can help bring jobs to places where they are needed and contribute to the development of local communities. “Once fully developed, the park is expected to have between 35,000 and 40,000 full time employees,” explains Solís Vázquéz.

Interpuerto Monterrey has the breadth of vision to focus on manufacturing, distribution, and export development. The importance of this and other similar parks across Mexico is that they can help companies with a global mindset connect with other markets, attracting and increasing the interest of local and foreign companies to work in Mexico. With two signed customers and its 350-hectare first phase already built and fully serviced, Silvano Solís Vazquéz is expecting 2014 to be the year Interpuerto Monterrey roars into life.