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Analysis

Port of Altamira Plans Expansion

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:57

The National Infrastructure Plan for 2014-2018 sets out to expand the National Port System, with investments to be directed at four strategic ports: Altamira, Lázaro Cárdenas, Manzanillo, and Veracruz. An investment of MX$10.7 billion (US$830 million) is destined for the upgrading of the API Altamira during the current presidential term. Improvements in railways and roads inside the port’s premises are among the most notable undertakings. Altamira will also gain a sufficiently deep draft to host platforms and a natural gas compression station. José Carlos Rodríguez Montemayor, Director General of API Altamira, highlights that the port has several competitive advantages such as its capacity for developing industrial projects, qualified labor, ability to grow from the current 17 berths to a total of 90, potential to increase the navigation channel from 40ft to 50ft, stateof-the-art and fully equipped terminals, and a strategic geographical location for markets in the US and Mexico’s northern region. The port’s design allows it to receive very large ships, including Post Panamax vessels with lengths of 330m and 8,500TEU capacities. API Altamira has received substantial investments for equipment acquisition for both project cargo and oversized cargo. As an example of the results of such investments, Rodríguez Montemayor highlights the port’s specialized terminal which received three particularly large pieces of 140 tonnes each arriving from Morgan City, Louisiana, that will be used in the AL2 expansion project of DuPont’s second production line at its Altamira plant. Similarly, the port received eight cargos with 50 wind towers to be deployed at a wind farm in Mexico’s central region. “These operations strengthen API Altamira and prove its ability to manage oversized cargo, further attracting cargo projects that contribute to the development of the port and Tamaulipas’ southern region,” Rodríguez Montemayor comments. Regarding the oil and gas industry, it is common for the LNG terminal to receive vessels measuring 315m and weighing up to 13,535 tonnes. Rodríguez Montemayor states that 2.56 million cargo tonnes of LNG passed through the Altamira LNG Terminal in 2013, which was the first infrastructure development of its kind in Latin America.

McDermott, an American company specialized in platform construction and maintenance, is placing longterm trust in Altamira as a hub for its services, since it has already moved its marine platform and design center from Morgan City to Altamira. McDermott’s 2014 development plan includes an investment in equipment for an assembly building and the construction of a repair shop for carbon steel piles and for the cutting of beams and plaques at the port. This center will be equipped with top-notch technology that will benefit the oil and gas sector, according to Rodríguez Montemayor. This plays right into the hands of the port’s future strategy: to continue promoting its value and to consolidate the services it can offer the oil platform construction sector in the Gulf of Mexico. Among the developing projects in this area, Rodríguez Montemayor highlights the investments currently being made by Dragados Offshore de México, a Spanish firm dedicated to platform construction as well as assembly, manufacturing, and repair operations for steel infrastructure. According to Rodríguez Montemayor, Dragados Offshore de México is likely to begin operations in 2014, creating approximately 200 jobs during the construction stage and 400 to 1,200 once its base is operational. In addition, there are plans to build a shipyard and a yard for the construction and maintenance of marine platforms inside the port. This project, involving an estimated investment of US$400 million, will be carried out by Keppel, Singapore’s leading company in the design, construction, and repair of high performance oil platforms used in deepwater activities. “These projects are helping API Altamira consolidate itself as a driving force in the metal-mechanical industry. We expect to bring in significant revenues and to see the creation of new employment opportunities,” says Rodríguez Montemayor. Moving down the oil value chain, Rodríguez Montemayor says that API Altamira will continue working to consolidate itself as the main private petrochemical cluster in Mexico. He considers his port to be pivotal in the country’s strategy to attract investments in the chemical and petrochemical sectors. “The Energy Reform enhances API Altamira’s position as an attractive investment destination and we will continue working to position ourselves as one of the ports with the largest growth outlook,” Rodríguez Montemayor concludes.