James Delano
Vice President of Structures and Logistics, Government and Community Relations
ATCO México
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View from the Top

Partner Locally for International Success

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 17:57

Q: How has ATCO’s structures and logistics division grown in the last year and what opportunities does it see in the real estate market?
A: We want to get our structures and logistics division going this year. This is the business that ATCO Group started with in 1947 and has always been our flagship line. We have been investigating opportunities in the market since our arrival to Mexico in 2014. We have found that there are various companies doing this type of business in Mexico but mostly in the rental sector and only a few manufacturing workforce housing solutions to support new economic growth in nonurban settings. I think demand for workforce housing will definitely play an important role as new development begins, especially after the president takes office and with new economic zones coming in the next few years.
We are approaching a time when prefabricated buildings will play an important role as a shelter solution. This type of structure is at least 25 percent faster to build and has a longer life span, incorporating modern and sustainable materials and energy solutions. The more we can show the market the attributes of this technology, the more popularity it will gain. The world of modular building has been evolving in Europe and other North American countries. It is only a matter of time before we see factory-built kitchens and bathroom units and ready-to-install smart walls. We are ready to begin building our modular structures solutions. This gives us what we have always wanted in Mexico.  
Q: What strategy are you employing to develop the modular and logistics structures business?
A: We want to enter sectors we had not been in before, either in Mexico or Canada, such as commercial buildings like food chains, convenience stores, gas stations and pharmacies. These are businesses that can be developed in a modular way that look for fast, easy and efficient construction. Modular buildings allow for 25-50 percent more efficiency in building time in comparison to traditional construction methods. The technology allows construction in a factory-controlled setting while simultaneously preparing the land and permits. We have been talking to new companies entering these markets looking for fast development, repeatability, market penetration and results. Other high-potential clients include hotel developers needing express and practical multi-story developments. Schools, hospitals, offices and other social infrastructure in Mexico use very traditional building strategies. We will work at changing this and making the market realize there is a new and innovative solution that will solve its needs quickly and efficiently. Then the sector will become even better at adapting new elements.
Q: What projects are in ATCO México’s pipeline for 2018-2019?
A: Since we entered the Mexican market, we have worked closely with productive state enterprises in constructing pipelines. These types of projects have allowed us to become more familiar with the country and with the rules of the game. We continue to look for new opportunities, whether in the energy, water, construction or logistics sectors. The country is demanding more and more reliable energy to compete globally and we continue to develop various energy projects such as distributed generation, hydro plants and solar farms.
We recently purchased a hydro plant and are building a power generation plant in northern Mexico. We are also developing a solar panel plant and bio-generator projects in central Mexico. These are great areas of opportunity in Mexico, generating efficient sustainable energy. On the pipeline and liquids side, we have partnered with CICSA to develop storage infrastructure and take advantage of midstream opportunities. Storage like in every industry is inventory and we need it to be efficient. We are also looking at smaller industrial water projects, where we can apply our experience from Canada.