U.S. marine terminal operator buys Mexican intermodal hub
Backed by the investment capital of insurance and financial services giant American International Group, Marine Terminals Corp. Holdings said late Friday it has purchased an inland intermodal terminal in Mexico.
The Puerta Mexico terminal, located in the Toluca industrial zone about 40 miles west of Mexico City, is one of the first such facilities in Mexico and is situated on the Toluca-Atlacomulco highway with direct access to the Kansas City Southern railroad line that was built to connect the new Port of Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo with the U.S. gateway in Laredo, Texas.
It has an estimated annual capacity of 150,000 containers on more than 130 developed acres serving the Lazaro Cardenas import-export market with 40-foot containers and the domestic Mexican and cross-border market with 53-foot containers.
Puerta Mexico Logistics founder Javier Soriano said at a freight transportation conference in Atlanta last month that the new terminal will start operations in January.
Kansas City Southern is interested in transferring its operations from its inefficient, rundown intermodal terminal in Toluca, but failed earlier this year to agree on terms with Puerta Mexico after reneging on a deal and trying to renegotiate lower rates, according to a official familiar with the Mexican transportation industry. The shift in ownership from a single proprietor to a large company like MTC and AIG means that KCS will likely be forced to pay much higher rates than it originally intended if it wants to take advantage of the facility, which it sees as a key to its expansion strategy in Mexico, the official said.
The transaction potentially makes for interesting bedfellows as the Port of Lazaro Cardenas is run by Hutchison Port Holdings, putting MTC, a competitor in the marine terminal environment, in the position of middleman for Hutchison-controlled freight.
MTC has stevedoring and terminal operations in more than 26 West Coast locations and six East Coast ports, handling more than 6 million TEUs each year. MTC Holdings expanded globally in 2006, establishing MTC International and MTC de Mexico to bring its services and operations to ports around the world. The ultra-modern facility will offer on-site customs and bonded warehousing to ocean carriers, railroads and logistics providers in addition to handling truck-rail container and dry and liquid bulk transfers.
'This transaction is indicative of MTC Holdings’ strong interest in M'xico and confidence in the country’s economy and business climate,' MTC Chief Executive Doug Tilden said in a statement. 'MTC Holdings is committed to making investments in M'xico that substantially improve the global supply chain, lead to real improvements in the competitiveness of Mexican businesses, and provide greater choices and lower prices to consumers.'
MTC has stevedoring and terminal operations in more than 26 West Coast locations and six East Coast ports, handling a total of more than 6 million TEUs each year. MTC Holdings expanded globally in 2006, establishing MTC International and MTC de Mexico to bring its services and operations to ports around the world.
AIG Highstar Capital, part of the AIG Global Investment Group, acquired the San Francisco-based marine terminal operator in June. AIG entered the port infrastructure business earlier in the year with the acquisition of P&O Ports North America (now Ports America) from Dubai-controlled Dubai Ports World for more than $1 billion by most estimates. It followed by acquiring AMPORTS, a provider of port-side automotive processing services in North America.
AIG's acquisition of MTC gave the family-owned business the financial wherewithal to expand and upgrade assets on a scale that it previously lacked to be able to compete with larger terminal conglomerates. ' Eric Kulisch