The project of the Altura Port in Progreso aims not only to bring Yucatán to better economic levels but is also a necessity, as there is a risk of decline, warned Ernesto Herrera Novelo, head of the Ministry of Economic Development and Labor (Sefoet).
He highlighted the historical records achieved in the past two years in terms of employment (28,890), foreign direct investment ($535.9 million), and insured workers (421,816), with the state ranking third nationally in nearshoring, accounting for eight percent of the country’s total.
“While the country’s economy grew by 4.6%, Yucatán achieved a growth rate of 7.1% in 2021,” he recalled. “From 2016 to 2021, the average annual economic growth rate of 1.5% was well above the national average, which decreased by 1.1%,” he added, sharing data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
In that sense, the Altura Port was crucial. “It serves as not only the entry point for products and raw materials into Yucatán but also for the entire Peninsula and part of the Southeast,” he emphasized, giving an example that “fuel from neighboring states enters through Yucatán.”
However, “the engine of our economy has already given what it had to offer,” which is why the expansion is very necessary, the official emphasized.
The head of Sefoet detailed with figures how significant advancements have reached a peak and will not increase unless there is investment in infrastructure.
The movement of container cargo, reflected in TEU measurement, increased by 146,362 units from 2016 to 2018, representing a growth of 115.7%.
Before 2017, the 70,000 mark had never been reached, but starting in 2018, the number exceeded 140,000, reaching its peak in 2021 (154,000) with a minimal decrease during the pandemic (143,000). It’s worth noting that TEUs do not include loose cargo such as bulk minerals and fluids, clarified Herrera Novelo, which means transportation is even greater.
In fact, the cargo volume doubled in 10 years, from 4.2 million to 8.4 million tons, with an annual growth rate of 6.3% between 2018 and 2021, and a 21.9% increase from 2021 to 2022.
However, the growth has reached a plateau with minimal variation, despite the ongoing industry growth in Yucatán, the secretary noted.
Another problem is the condition of the port, which has experienced sinkholes that pose risks to operations.
Similarly, the lack of suitable conditions results in the loss of receiving 99 cruise ships annually, each with a capacity of 6,000 to 9,000 passengers. “Just with those cruises, there are around 270,000 fewer people coming to visit the state,” said Herrera Novelo.
Given the current limitations, the secretary acknowledged that logistically, they cannot compete with other ports such as Manzanillo, Colima, and Lázaro Cárdenas. “New investments require a logistics system for raw materials and finished products that is not currently viable. This has affected us, as investment projects have preferred Nuevo León and the Bajío region.”
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