Lazaro Cardenas Expanding Its Auto Logistics Role

The Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas has handled its first shipment of Honda Fit units, illustrating once more the port's growing role in the country's automotive supply chain. The development of Mexico's automotive assembly sector offers further growth options for the port's auto operations, with BMI highlighting a trend of growth in Mexico's automotive exports.

The first shipment of Honda's 2015 Fit units has been exported via Lazaro Cardenas' Multipurpose Terminal II. The cars were constructed at Honda's new US$800mn assembly plant in Celaya in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The plant will assemble the 2015 Fit subcompact hatchback and crossover variants, with an annual production level of 200,000 units. The units are to be exported to the North American market, but Honda could also utilise the plant for shipments to Central and South America.

Honda's choice of the port of Lazaro Cardenas for its shipments will further increase the port's role in the automotive supply chain. In 2013 automotive shipments through the port expanded by 16.6% to 248,984 units, from 213,464 units in 2012. BMI notes that automotive exports are starting to play a larger role in the mix. Automotive imports still dominate, accounting for 73.2% of the total in 2013, but their market share has dropped from 80.8% in 2012 - this is due to the fact that import automotives have increased from 19.2% in 2012 to 26.8% in 2013.

Automotive Export Potential Increasing
Mexico Vehicle Trade Balance (units) and y-o-y % Change

The Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas has handled its first shipment of Honda Fit units, illustrating once more the port's growing role in the country's automotive supply chain. The development of Mexico's automotive assembly sector offers further growth options for the port's auto operations, with BMI highlighting a trend of growth in Mexico's automotive exports.

The first shipment of Honda's 2015 Fit units has been exported via Lazaro Cardenas' Multipurpose Terminal II. The cars were constructed at Honda's new US$800mn assembly plant in Celaya in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The plant will assemble the 2015 Fit subcompact hatchback and crossover variants, with an annual production level of 200,000 units. The units are to be exported to the North American market, but Honda could also utilise the plant for shipments to Central and South America.

Honda's choice of the port of Lazaro Cardenas for its shipments will further increase the port's role in the automotive supply chain. In 2013 automotive shipments through the port expanded by 16.6% to 248,984 units, from 213,464 units in 2012. BMI notes that automotive exports are starting to play a larger role in the mix. Automotive imports still dominate, accounting for 73.2% of the total in 2013, but their market share has dropped from 80.8% in 2012 - this is due to the fact that import automotives have increased from 19.2% in 2012 to 26.8% in 2013.

Automotive Export Potential Increasing
Mexico Vehicle Trade Balance (units) and y-o-y % Change

Honda's choice of maritime logistics as the means to export its vehicles into the US is telling. Mexico boasts road and rail links into the US, but their reliability and the quality of the networks has led Honda to view the use of Mexico's ports as a safer logistics option. To reach the port of Lazaro Cardenas Honda is investing in the regional railway, with the company's assembly plant getting its own railway spur and investment going toward re-routing the railway track away from the city centre. BMI has previously noted the trend in the logistics sector of shippers investing in a country's transport infrastructure to ensure that their goods can get to market in a timely manner. This appears to be Honda's strategy and its investment in Mexico's railway infrastructure is warranted, with the country's railway network scoring just 2.8 out of 7.0 in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

Mexico's ports are set to play a bigger role in the country's automotive supply chain, as Mexico develops as an assembly hub. In December 2012 Nissan opened an assembly plant in Aguascalientes and Mazda is developing a facility in Salamanca. The country's vehicle production is projected to expand by 5.6% to 3.4mn units in 2014, with vehicle sales forecast to grow by 5.8% to 1.1mn units. This will allow a vehicle trade balance that is available for export of 2.1mn units - a y-o-y increase of 5.5% in 2014.

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Autos, Freight Transport, Shipping
Geography: Mexico
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