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Mexican port volumes fell 7.8% in Q1

The pandemic COVID-19 has affected negatively the ports of Mexico which saw their containers volumes fall by 7.8% at the end of the first quarter of this year.

Mexican ports handled 1.61m teu compared to 1.74m teu in 1Q19, according to Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT).

The SCT announced that the Pacific ports, that trade mainly with Asia, registered the most significant decrease, 8.7%, with 1.08m teu compared to 1,18m teu in the same period last year. Ports volumes in the Gulf /Caribbean area fell by 5.9% to 525,420 teu compared to 558,088 teu in Q1, 2019. Analysts attribute the fall in cargo volumes to a reduction of the automotive activity and imports and exports of the sector.

Manzanillo, the main port of the country, moved 704,453 teu falling by 6.4%  compared to 752,325 teu in the same period of 2019, while the second largest port, Lazaro Cardenas, showed a 19.3% drop with 275,928 teu compared to 341,727 teu in 2019. The third largest port, Vera Cruz volumes fell by 3.1% to 263,633 teu, compared to 271,120 in 2019 while Altamira registered a decrease of 10.4% to 198,037 teu compared to 221,133 teu the year before.  

“If the COVID-19 situation does not extend too much, we expect an annual drop of 6%-7%. So far, the current variation is directly linked to the COVID-19 situation,” said a port operator.

The President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said Thursday that was essential to reactivate the Mexican automotive industry which has been slowed down by the pandemic.

Lopez Obrador said that “as soon as the United States restarts its [automotive]activities we will analyse the reopening," he said during his morning press conference. Last Wednesday, the Association of Manufacturers of the United States (NAM) requested to coordinate the essential activities in order not to affect the production chains.

 In Mexico, the automotive guilds have requested the Ministries of Economy and Health to be included in the list of essential activities to maintain, to be able to serve the U.S. market.

 “The Mexican automotive industry alone is dedicated to exports, according to reports from the Ministry of Economy, which occupies one million Mexican workers. So it is something we are seeing even as part of the T-MEC, to seek ways to advance the stage of beginning the implementation of the treaty," said Lopez Obrador.

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