Armando Rodríguez García
Director General
Mexican Chamber of the Marine Transportation Industry (Cameintram)
View from the Top

Mexico’s Petroleum Merchant Navy

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:16

Q: What are the highlights in the history of the marine transportation sector in Mexico?

A: There have been two merchant navies in the history of our country. The first, dating from José López Portillo’s presidential term (1976-1982), had a primary focus on cargo transportation of Mexican origin. The long-term contracts issued during this time allowed shipyards to build di†erent kinds of vessels – bulk ships and mineral ships, among others – and also gave maritime transportation companies a sense of economic security. When most of these stateowned companies disappeared, the old merchant navy evolved into a petroleum merchant navy, as 97% of its business is oil-related.

Q: What is the role that Cameintram and its members play in the Mexican marine transportation industry?

A: Not everyone is worried about the development of the Mexican merchant navy, and this is why some people have tagged the chamber as an exclusive club of sorts. However, companies are starting to worry about the future of the industry, not due to the emergence of a particular problem, but as proactive companies looking for the growth opportunities for the marine transportation industry. This is one of the main objectives that Cameintram is constantly lobbying for by meeting with our members and key stakeholders in the industry. We are talking about proactive people who look for the association and its members to achieve their objectives while focusing on improving the industry. Cameintram has stopped acting just as a representative and has expanded its functions to bigger purposes with the aim of creating a better merchant navy. Cameintram divides its membership into three di†erent categories: ship owners, operators, and service providers.

Q: How does Cameintram help its members to further develop their business relationships with Pemex?

A: Cameintram acts as the intermediary for our members in the general issues they have with Pemex. Our main function is to create a link with the di†erent Pemex contracting areas to help make the bidding process more transparent. Pemex E&P usually consults Cameintram, and submits an application requesting the specific maritime equipment it will require. The association’s role is to then obtain information about the equipment that our members possess and how these can satisfy Pemex’s requirements. This way, Pemex gets a list of Mexican alternatives to fulfill their contract requirements. Besides this, Cameintram also bolsters activity within the industry, ensuring that there are always Mexican vessels available for the industry’s needs. The association anticipates Pemex’s needs and publishes them periodically so that di†erent companies can be proactive in fulfilling equipment requirements for the future.

Q: How successful has Cameintram been in developing the correct operationing environment for its members?

A: Cameintram promotes, protects, participates in and anticipates Pemex E&P’s needs to ensure that Mexican shipping companies can take part in every bid. We also ensure that basic regulation of the maritime industry is adhered to. Mexico’s maritime sector has its own version of the Jones Act, with the main di†erence being that coastal shipping can be done by foreign vessels: a 49% share is allowed for foreign companies under the regulations. The chamber works as a mirror to reflect compliance with the sector’s regulations, enabling the Mexican market to compete against international competitors. As a Mexican chamber, though, we will always have the aim of giving domestic companies an advantage on all bids. When there are no Mexican alternatives, however, we encourage Pemex to find a foreign company to fulfill its requirements.

Q: How is Cameintram contributing to optimizing safety performance in the maritime transportation industry?

A: Mexico complies with all international safety standards, and often goes well beyond international norms. All maritime safety treaties and protocols are met, and we intercede through the safety experts on our technical committee. Cameintram has been collaborating with Pemex E&P for 23 years on safety-related topics so there is consistency in the safety checks they perform. We have learned that safety at sea is of the utmost importance: the protection of human life is the best investment there can be made. Fortunately, Mexican operators have invested greatly in safety, and in personnel training.