Multimodal Solutions Near the BorderWed, 11/01/2017 - 16:47
When it comes to industrial parks, suppliers are often attracted to those with premium locations and accessibility, and Monterrey finds itself in a privileged position right in the heart of the NAFTA market, says Mauricio Garza, CEO of Interpuerto Monterrey.
Nuevo Leon is already one of Mexico’s automotive hubs along with Guanajuato and Queretaro. After Kia’s manufacturing operations arrived in the state, many new suppliers started looking for the perfect site to establish facilities and become Kia’s suppliers, says Garza. This created an opportunity for Interpuerto Monterrey. Located in the Salinas Victoria municipality and only an hour away from Monterrey’s city center, the park offered an advantageous position for companies wanting to supply both the domestic market and the NAFTA region.
A two-hour drive is the only thing separating Interpuerto Monterrey from the nearest crossing to the US. It allows companies that choose to source or work with companies in the Bajio to have direct access to the highway. Shipments moving to and from the park can reach the Mariano Escobedo International Airport in less than 35 minutes. Its flexibility has allowed Interpuerto Monterrey to target not only the automotive sector but also the food and beverage, logistics and agricultural sectors, with 10 companies located in the park. Based on its current occupancy, the company is positive about its development as an infrastructure and logistics hub. “We expect to reach double-digit growth figures in 2017,” Garza says.
Interpuerto Monterrey also offers strong rail connectivity with both Kansas City Southern and Ferromex lines passing right next to the park, which is a considerable benefit given the limited rail infrastructure in the country. Garza says Interpuerto Monterrey is promoting the use of rail as a cost-efficient solution for imports and exports. “Mexican logistics are almost twice as costly as in other developing countries,” he says. “But rail is an attractive option for investors when comparing volume and shipment costs.” Garza says the industrial park will not rely solely on its accessibility to promote Interpuerto Monterrey. It also stands out by offering tailor-made solutions.
“Interpuerto Monterrey can offer multimodal solutions to fit clients’ specific needs,” he says. The park has developed its service offering to the point of becoming a partner in real- estate solutions. “We can sell lots to clients so they can build their plants with any construction company they choose, we can build their plants according to the client’s specifications and lease them, we can build the plant and sell it to companies once finished, or develop speculative buildings and lease them to tenants,” he explains. “In other words, we are a real estate solutions company.”
Despite the park’s optimal transport access, it is combatting one of the industry’s main concerns in customs operations. According to several logistics providers including Hellmann and UPS, customs is among the processes with the most opportunity for improvement so that Mexico can increase its attractiveness as a logistics hub. Interpuerto Monterrey wants to address this. “Most of our clients are importers and exporters, so an internal customs agency would be a crucial advantage for us,” he says. Garza’s three-stage program for Interpuerto Monterrey places a customs office at the top of the list, which must follow the Customs Technologic Integration Project (PITA) established by the federal government. This initiative seeks to automate and expedite customs operations for products entering or leaving the country and Interpuerto Monterrey will be one of the 60 points of revision that the Tax Administration Service (SAT) appoints to manage over 99 percent of Mexican customs operations. “We expect to deliver the facilities to SAT by the end of 2017,” says Garza.
In the medium term and in the interest of attracting business, Garza wants to make the park a free-trade zone (FTZ). According to the latest regulations established by President Peña Nieto’s administration and SAT, parks no longer require a minimal square footage to become an FTZ. Companies cleared under FTZ’s regulations can authorize longer temporary import terms of up to 24 months for products entering the supply chain. These advantages have made FTZs an attractive solution for recurrent importers and exporters. “We are advancing with this project along with potential clients that might use this service because companies have to be certified to apply for free-trade status,” says Garza.