Gilberto Antonio Ríos Ruiz
Director General
Port of Coatzacoalcos

Expanding Mexico’s Leading Petrochemical Port

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 14:50

Created by Federal decree in October 1825, the Port of Coatzacoalcos has always depended on the region’s industrial hinterland. The history of its development has shifted from being a relevant port in the first era of the Mexican merchant navy – devoted mainly to cargo transportation – to being the most important petrochemical port in the country. The Port of Coatzacoalcos devotes itself mainly to facilitating the growth of the petrochemical industry: “We concentrate on the creation and development of facilities for the petrochemical industry because of its economic importance for the region,” explains Gilberto Antonio Ríos Ruiz, Director General of the Port of Coatzacoalcos. “The main industry in Coatzacoalcos is the petrochemical industry, so the port focuses on petrochemical-related activity. This is why we have better facilities for fluids management than other ports in the area.”

Recent investments made by the private sector in the southern part of the State of Veracruz, aimed at the creation, revival and expansions of petrochemical centers in the area, have increased the importance of the Port of Coatzacoalcos. “We are currently facing important challenges and opportunities,” Ríos Ruiz says. “They all revolve around the increased importance that the development of the petrochemical industry has taken in the last years.”

The alliance of Pemex and private sector leader Mexichem to expand petrochemical production at Pajaritos and the creation of the Braskem-Idesa’s Etileno XXI complex have helped the petrochemical segment to raise its prominence in the Mexican hydrocarbon landscape. In turn, this has given the Port of Coatzacoalcos some revamping work to do in order to satisfy the expanding demand that these new projects will require.

“The first priority for the Port Administration right now is to finish the infrastructure at Pajaritos, since it is the most important project for the region,” Ríos Ruiz details. “The construction of the dock is already finished and the onshore infrastructure has been built, but we still need to look for private investment through public bidding in order to build port facilities at the other side of the river to be able to serve the growing demand of the industry.” The increasing amount of investment that the private sector is dedicating to petrochemical projects, already lead the Port of Coatzacoalcos to prepare for future expansion of activity in this segment. The port already has three di†erent terminals that meet the needs of the petrochemical industry, and new facilities will need to be developed. “There is not much available land remaining in the area to build the infrastructure needed for future petrochemical projects,” Ríos Ruiz comments. “We are not the only ones growing, the city of Coatzacoalcos is growing to the west, which is the only side in which it can grow because we are surrounded by the sea in the north, swamps in the south, and the Coatzacoalcos river on the east side. To make sure that we develop hand in hand with the city we have a special program that is dedicated to the relationship between the port and the city, and we publish an annual report dedicated to our social responsibilities which shows the people what are we are doing, and highlights that the port and city can grow in harmony”

“It is the Port Administration’s (Administración Portuaria Integral – API) responsibility to provide the necessary facilities to address the growing needs of the companies that are coming to work in the region.” Creativity and perseverance will be crucial as the Port of Coatzacoalcos continues expanding its A-grade infrastructure to support the development of the petrochemical industry.