A Positive Outlook for Mexico’s Gateway StateBy Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:00
Q: What is SEDECOP role in the acceleration Veracruz’s economic recovery following the pandemic?
A: Veracruz is a state with an uncomplicated economy. It is highly rural and agriculture was relatively unaffected by the pandemic, with the exception of certain considerations that had to be made on the logistical side of that business. Our main objective is boosting the economic development of the state’s human capital. Veracruz houses a little over 8 million people, making it the third-most populous state in Mexico after Jalisco and State of Mexico. This means that our consumer and labor platforms are quite vast. Our workers are skilled in a number of industries thanks to PEMEX and the port of Veracruz.
SEDECOP’s size, budget, resources and reach are modest but our “Made in Veracruz'' certification has a great deal of value, in addition to our retail distribution network, which we apply to the commercialization of the products that receive this certification. As a result, we can incorporate an increasing number of SMEs into formal and regulated markets, which can provide them a degree of steady and stable growth. Finally, through a public trust called “Fund of the Future,” we granted close to US$5 million in US$500 credits to 10,000 SMEs to help them sustain themselves throughout the pandemic. Major corporations are also making significant investments in the state, such as Nestle’s new instant coffee factory to be inaugurated soon near the Veracruz port. We are also working with companies in the health, construction, energy and waste management sectors. We expect to close 2021 with an economy that is similar to where we were in February 2020.
Q: How has Veracruz’s port network development progressed throughout the pandemic?
A: Veracruz is the only state in Mexico with three major international ports, which are Veracruz, Tuxpan and Coatzacoalcos. The renovation and expansion of the Veracruz port has been a long-term project with many years of work and resources invested. The first phase of that project has been successfully completed and the second phase will begin soon. Over US$1.6 billion has already been invested. This includes the construction of new storage and container terminals with a variety of technical characteristics and load capacities, including liquid, mineral and grain terminals and storage facilities. We just inaugurated IEnova’s hydrocarbon storage plant and in six years we have plans to complete the second phase. By then, the Veracruz port will be the most important port in Latin America.
The Tuxpan port receives significant investments from the energy industry. Approximately US$1.1 billion is being invested in seven projects that include the modernization of port facilities and the construction of liquid energy commodity terminals and storage facilities. There is even a combined cycle power plant being built as part of the investment agenda. Tuxpan is also an important port due to its gas pipeline connectivity with the US and Mexico markets. The Coatzacoalcos port has historically been among the most important assets for Mexico’s petrochemical industry, thanks in part to its proximity to a cluster of facilities, such as the Pajaritos complex, the La Cangrejera complex and Etileno XXI. However, its future is even more ambitious, since Coatzacoalcos will become the most important part of the Transisthmic Corridor.
Q: What makes this the ideal moment to fulfill the ambitions of the Transisthmic Corridor project?
A: This might be the oldest industrial development project in the country’s history; in fact, the project dates back to the colonial era. The railroad tracks still exist along that route and are the subject of a modernization project. President López Obrador is serious about completing this project and about focusing on the development of the southern states. We have plans to finish this project and to invest as many resources as needed so it can compete with the Panama Canal. We continue to benefit from the commercial conflict between the US and China and we should take advantage of this project to maximize those benefits. Ten industrial parks will be built along the corridor’s route so that it can become a hub of economic development and growth.
My office has been an essential liaison between the Veracruz government and the federal authorities, including the president. We believe that this will be the most important project of this administration, more so than the Mayan Train, the Dos Bocas refinery or the Felipe Angeles Airport. We anticipate that this project will truly break the vicious circle of neglect and disinterest in industrial development that has plagued the southern and southeastern states of the country for the last few decades. This is public infrastructure investment that will represent strategic growth for the country for the next 30 years, benefiting the industry, communities and social institutions as well.