Punta Colonet project financing in peril
The Mexican government on Tuesday said it might have to postpone construction of the Punta Colonet megaport in Baja California due to financing issues related to the global economic downturn.
Mexico's Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez said two U.S. banks are working with Mexican federal officials to determine if financing of the estimated $5 billion port project is still possible in the current financial environment.
Tellez also said the Jan. 26 deadline for firms bidding on the project is likely to be extended, though he did not offer more specifics. Bidding opened in August 2008.
The first phase of the Colonet project, to be located in an undeveloped Baja California bay 150 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border, is projected to handle up to 2 million TEUs per year when completed. Construction of the first phase is expected to take up to three years. Additional phases of the project could ultimately see the complex grow to the size of either Long Beach or Los Angeles, handling more than 7 million TEUs annually.
Aimed at luring Asian cargo now heading through the Southern California ports to the U.S. East Coast via overland rail, the Punta Colonet port complex is envisioned as a nearly all-intermodal operation, with containers being transported via rail to U.S. mainline rails near the intersection of the California, Arizona and Mexican borders.