Home NewsPeninsulaBeach Communities Expansion of the Port of Progreso, necessary for the development of the port.

Expansion of the Port of Progreso, necessary for the development of the port.

by Magali Alvarez
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Due to the shallow draft and width of the navigation channel, new generation vessels cannot enter the Puerto de Altura and delay the promotion of the tourism and commercial sectors.

With the vision of advancing towards a new stage of competitiveness and tourism and commercial development, the Government is promoting the modernization and expansion of the Port of Progreso, a historic event that has been sought for 10 years and which will put Yucatan at the forefront of port logistics, generating greater connectivity with the country and the entire world.

The port of Progreso has maintained a growth in port traffic from deep-sea movements, import, export and cabotage, so it requires an expansion and modernization, since the official draft of 9.75 meters causes this port is out of step with the trend of the shipping industry, so that currently this can not receive new generation vessels that are larger and larger capacity.

The expansion work will allow the entity and the port to have a more competitive draft worldwide to receive larger vessels; currently, ships with cargoes of 36,000 to 40,000 tons can enter, but with these improvements, it will reach 100,000 tons.

The problem of Puerto Progreso arises as a result of the advances in the maritime transportation industry, which seek to increase the cargo capacity of vessels to take advantage of economies of scale in the movement of goods.
With the expansion of the Panama Canal, the trend towards larger vessels has increased and will continue to increase substantially, requiring commercial ports with deeper navigation channels, longer docks, and larger operating areas.

Industrial activity in Yucatan, has presented a growth from 2016 to 2021 an annual average of 1.5%, occupying the second place among all the federative entities, well above the national average whose value in that same reference was a decrease of 1.1%.

According to the most updated data, the industry index in Yucatan in November 2022 reached 124.6, while in that same month of 2021 the value was 118.8, signifying a growth of 4.9%.

Within the industry, manufacturing has presented in that same period an average annual growth of 9.8% according to the value of production, which placed Yucatan in seventh place nationally among the entities. The latest available value shows that January 2023 compared to the same month of 2022 shows a growth of 10.6%.

One effect of this growth is the impact it has had on formal employment in Yucatan, achieving a historical maximum of employment registration before the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in February 2023 with 420,905 people, meaning an increase of 5.6% over the same period of 2022 and a 3.1% average annual growth from 2016 to 2022, despite the Covid-19 pandemic where more than 25 thousand jobs were lost.

This is how it can be seen that industrial development and jobs continue to grow, but the movement of containers has reached a value that does not maintain that pace, which did have until 2018 with that percentage increase of 115. 7% in only 2 years, but that in 2019 reached 153,319 TEU; 2020, to 148,911 TEU; 2021, to 153,880 TEU, and 2022, with 132,625 TEU, which shows a moderate growth until 2021, but a decrease in 2022, which means a stagnation despite the fact that the export industry continues to grow and therefore, there is greater product.

Regarding tourism, the cruise ships arriving now have a capacity for 2,500 passengers; with the expansions, the figure will increase to between 7,000 and 8,000, so the ships arriving in Cozumel today will be able to enter Puerto Progreso.

Due to the low dredging and draft capacity of the port, arrivals have been lost, such as Carnival, which has lost 15 frequencies to Progreso; Royal Caribbean, 40, and MSC Cruises, 44. In total, 99 frequencies have been lost because the draft of Progreso is not enough for tourist ships.

If the expansion from 12.50 to 14 meters is achieved, 52 additional cruise ships could arrive to Progreso. Floating hotels such as the Carnival Mardi Gras, with 6,500 tourist passengers plus crew; the Oasis Of The Seas, with 6,296; the Allure Of The Seas, with 6,290, and the Norwegian Epic, with 4,100, among others, could arrive in Progreso.

State authorities have informed that the large shipping lines have said that when they see that the dredging of the port of Progreso begins, they can program their arrivals for the following two years.

In the last years the dynamic of growth in the number of arrivals has found an important limiting factor in the port’s capacity to receive new generation ships, whose dimensions exceed the capacity of the navigation channel to allow a safe entrance and exit, added to the natural and climatic conditions of our coast.

This is beginning to limit the availability of itineraries for large shipping lines, which have begun to exclude Progreso from their routes for larger ships.

Likewise, we do not currently have the necessary conditions to take advantage of new departure terminals, as is the case of the new Royal Caribbean Cruise Line cruise terminal recently inaugurated in Galveston, Texas, or to take advantage of the port’s strategic position to attract new investments in this segment.

Currently more than 480 cruise ships pass in front of us that do not enter due to the low depth and whose maintenance and repair could be carried out in the shipyard of the Italian company Fincantieri.

Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal and the naval giant signed a letter of intent that contemplates the design and construction of a new ship repair, conversion and maintenance shipyard, which will include the manufacture of two masonry docks, the largest in the Americas.

The Italian company not only confirmed that in the first stage it will invest 150 million dollars, but that this investment will increase to 220 million dollars, which means a milestone in the economic development of the port and all of Yucatan.

It was also confirmed that these Yucatan shipyards will have a dry port of up to 400 meters long, where large ships will be received, particularly cruise ships, as well as large container ships and tankers that require complex operations.

In addition, the project contemplates a lifting platform for units up to 150 meters long and approximately 1,000 meters of docks, cranes, workshops, special equipment, offices and warehouses.

This work will place Yucatan in the sights of the large shipping companies that will require its services and will also be a source of a large number of jobs, not only in its construction, but also in its subsequent start-up, especially for specialists in engineering, construction, naval engineering, design and equipment, among many other related businesses that can be attracted.

The shipyard alone, when they have two ships in maintenance, has 6,000 people working, and they generate 40,000 containers of cargo and supplies per year.

The expansion project consists of dredging five million cubic meters to increase the capacity of the port’s navigation areas.

The navigation channel would increase from 150 to 180 meters wide and from 7.1 to 10 kilometers long.

The dredging basin would increase from 450 to 600 meters in diameter, all at a depth of 14 meters, and the dredged material would be used to fill in a polygon of up to 40 hectares.

There is an environmental authorization from the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat) for the filling of the platform that will be the base of the project.

With these actions it will be possible to handle merchandise and implement business models that were not possible before, such as natural gas or automobiles, and larger cruise ships will be able to arrive, releasing Yucatan’s potential to scale its logistics, export manufacturing and tourism sectors.

The decrease in logistics costs due to the increase in the size of merchant ships will open more opportunities for local companies and the established industry, which will also add to the attractiveness of the State to attract new investments. Likewise, new direct and indirect jobs will be generated during its construction and operation, and once ready, it will allow the arrival of more and larger cruise ships and, therefore, with a greater number of tourists and the economic spillover that entails.

TYT Newsroom

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