A Glance at Mexico and its Growing Intermodal Demand

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the Association of American Railroads reported that Mexican intermodal volume reached a high that has not been seen in the last two years. More and more, Mexican shippers have been turning to rail in order to move their goods. In fact, Journal of Commerce claims that Mexico’s intermodal industry is seen as the industry’s quickest-growing sector. Volume of shipments using intermodal transportation has soared about 31% year-over-year to 14,238 units leading up to last week. Carloads for Mexico also increased by approximately 38%, reaching a total carload of 19,745 units.

We’ve mentioned in a previous white paper that nearshoring to Mexico for North American manufacturing has many advantages, one of them being that cross-border logistics to Mexico, through the efforts of governmental intervention and NAFTA, has been improving heavily especially in intermodal transportation requirements. Combine that with rising ocean transport costs, peak season surcharges, and the rising wages in China and you get a prime contender for a tangible, competitive consideration for nearshoring.

One of Mexico’s largest container port, Lazaro Cardenas, has been showing a steady increase in intermodal demand. Efforts to meet the growing demand is shown in the influx of inextments and developments such as the APM Terminal’s deep water terminal which is expected to become operational by 2016.

By the beginning of this month, Mexico contributed to the overall increase in growth for North American intermodal volume. Of the 13 North American railroads, a total of 347,857 units in intermodal volume was reported (a 5.4% increase in volume compared to the same week last year).

Factors that Affect Mexican Intermodal Business

Intermodal rail in Mexico has some great advantages with regards to cross-border logistics, adding more incentive to nearshore as a strategy for North American manufacturing. Below are some facts that show how both incentives from Mexico and the US governments are leveraging their neighbouring border towards a better solution.

  • With the right documents, clearance can take as little as 30 minutes for a 250-foot container, compared to the two hours it takes for a single-container truck.
  • BNSF Railway launched its first all-rail US-Mexico service in May to help facilitate faster movement between borders by partnering with Ferromex (a Mexican railroad).
  • AMP Terminal is currently developing a new deep-water terminal to launch by 2016.

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