Sergio León
Infrastructure Commercial Director for Mexico
View from the Top

PPP Schemes to Drive Sector Through Election Terms

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:21

Q: What role has SENER played in the evolution of Mexico’s transport sector, especially roads and highways?
A: We are a point of reference for Mexico’s transport sector. We have many years of experience working in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The company assisted SCT in developing the ITS standards in 2011 for Mexico’s network and in 2014 we also supported Banobras in standardizing the electronic toll-collection systems throughout the country. Now the entire road and highway network is standardized, whether it is under the control of FONADIN or concessioned to the private sector.
SENER is participating as an Integral Advisor for BANOBRAS in the new Telepeaje model for the FONADIN road network. This will allow for greater diversification in the market. We also work closely with SCT in the development and support for federal transportation projects. We have collaborated in modernization of road projects and the geometric elements of bridges and tunnels. One of our most important projects with SCT is a Supervision and Operation contract for intelligent tunnels and control centers on the Durango-Mazatlan highway. We work directly with both the public and private sectors, whether they are national or international. In the last three years, SENER has worked on more than 500km of road and highway projects in Mexico.
Q: How important is technology and innovation when developing and improving Mexico’s highway system?
A: In the last few years, SCT has placed a great deal of importance on technology and innovation, especially in highway projects. We have secure and safe highways through the use of technology. For instance, if there is an accident or situation on the Durango-Mazatlan highway, it is recorded and authorities are notified right away. These types of systems require great investment but ultimately will boost the performance of the road sector.
In Atizapan-Atlatomulco, a highway that goes through the mountain range that leads to Guadalajara, we have projected the use of 80 different structures, among them bridges, over and underpasses and tunnels. These types of projects are extremely ambitious and require a great amount of expertise to develop from the design to the implementation of engineering processes. The fact that SCT has released more projects under a PPP scheme has definitely improved financial viability and ensures the quality of the infrastructure.
We believe technology is extremely important and we are constantly looking to integrate innovative technologies and processes into our projects, which has truly differentiated us from others in the market. We integrate technologies such as BIM into all of our projects to mitigate risks and stay ahead of the competition.
Q: What types of projects do you believe will keep the industry running over the next two years?
A: There will be a great deal of uncertainty at a national level throughout 2018-2019. This time frame can be defined as the pre and post-election periods. In a regular year, companies tend to have a heavier work load toward the end of the year and in an abnormal year like 2018 the Gauss Curve appears earlier in the year. Post-elections, the industry must wait for the new administration to develop its infrastructure agenda. There will be uncertainty across the industry as a whole and even more if the political color changes.
We believe that PPPs can be a catalyst in these types of situations. These new schemes can be an option for not only the public sector, but for the entire industry to continue developing in the coming years. USP will also help bridge Mexico’s infrastructure needs. Nevertheless, using these schemes requires better risk mitigation and being on top of all processes. I believe that Mexico has yet to achieve a completely successful PPP. Since the PPP law was approved, the industry and government have been working arduously to perfect the practice in Mexico. Apart from the political uncertainty, the fact that petroleum no longer plays a huge role in Mexico’s finances has also impacted the economy.