As with the larger port of Manzanillo, we envisage strong growth for both gross tonnage and container handling at the Mexican port of Veracruz in 2014, supported by a rise in real GDP growth.
The port of Veracruz is the second-largest box port in Mexico, although it lags far behind the number one, handling 801,300 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2012 to Manzanillo's 1.94mn TEUs (latest available data). In 2014, we believe Veracruz's box throughput will grow by 10%. This follows on from double-digit growth in both 2012 and 2013 (estimated) and would see 965,166TEUs handled at the port.
In terms of total tonnage throughput, we envisage a more sedate gain of 3.7% to 22.1mn tonnes, following an estimated expansion of 1.5% in 2013. Risks to this outlook are to the upside given the strong expansion between 2010 to 2012, although these gains were preceded by declines in 2008 and 2009, and base effects would suggest that the growth rate will slow in 2013.
Over the medium term (2014-2018) we expect the port to build on 2014's growth, with average annual tonnage throughput growth of 4.6%, to reach 26.7mn tonnes in 2018.
|Volumes On The Up|
|Port Of Veracruz volumes, Total Tonnage '000 & TEUs|
In box terms, we expect average annual growth of 7.6%, to reach 1.27mn TEUs in 2018. The 1mn TEUs milestone will be passed for the first time in 2015.
A recently completed expansion programme offers upside risk to our forecasts. According to the port authority, a five-year, MXN2.8bn (US$217mn) investment programme took place, centred on expanding and developing the port's existing maritime infrastructure. Work began in early 2007 and was scheduled to be completed in 2012. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Transport and Communication (SCT) in conjunction with private investors. The expansion has increased the capacity of the port to 118mn tonnes of cargo a year. The aim was to expand the size of the existing complex by 3mn square metres, and includes the addition of 34 new berths as well as new storage facilities and transport infrastructure.