Volume 11 | Issue 6 | Year 2008

A number of crucial factors contribute to Coatzacoalcos being a port without any borders. “First of all, the annual traffic of bulk minerals and agricultural products moved through our port makes us the leading company in the whole of Mexico, while in terms of the volume of petrochemicals handled we are the second largest such organization in the country after Cayo Arcas,” explains Gilberto Rios Ruiz, director general of the business. “The Pajarito and Recinto terminals in the port have in 2006 handled 3.36 million tonnes of cargo and had a total number of 1690 ship arrivals.”
Coatzacoalcos is also a unique port because export and import operations on its premises are carried out with business partners from across the entire world. In addition, the port’s values and culture are to have no borders when working with customers; on the contrary, the company offers unrivaled flexibility in providing logistical solutions to a wide-ranging variety of clients and is continuously investing in further expanding its scope of operations.

Exported goods in 2006 reached nearly 1.19 million tonnes, imports 1.6 million tonnes, with coastal traffic contributing 572,000 tonnes. Broken down, these figures include:

  • bulk minerals and agricultural products (638,805 and 807,161 tonnes respectively)
  • petrochemicals (1.23 million tonnes)
  • general cargo 683,450 tonnes in 2006 – almost 340,000 tonnes more than the year before.

“The rise in the importance of general cargo is one of the most recent trends influencing our operations and we are certainly introducing solutions to meet this growing port traffic demand and satisfy our customers,” adds Ruiz. “We are also the only port on the entire continent to have invested into installations allowing cargo rail carriages to be directly driven onto specially fitted ships using a two-level rail ramp, thus seriously facilitating logistical processes for customers utilizing railroad for transportation of their goods.”

The company employs 63 management staff and 1,000 people working directly in the activities carried out at the port. Coatzacoalcos is a unique infrastructural organization as its premises are occupied by not only businesses which use the marine terminals for receiving ships, but also for a wide range of other services, including exports and imports as well as actual processing of raw materials delivered by sea. These businesses include grain milling for the production of flour, refining of shipped-in vegetable oil, which is subsequently distributed to the local and regional markets, as well as processing of ethyl alcohol to be used by the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

By offering such a flexibility of logistics and wide-ranging possibilities for activities to be carried out on its site, it is not surprising that Coatzacoalcos Port has attracted a multitude of clients who altogether significantly contribute to the economic development of the entire region. Customers permanently based at Coatzacoalcos include Oxiteno Mexico (production and distribution of ethoxylated products); PEMEX (handling of sulfur); Minerales y Arcillas (handling and processing of barium sulfate crystals); CEMEX Mexico (storage, packing and distribution of cement), as well as Multiver de Coatzacoalcos (storage and general handling of agricultural bulk products), Oleosur (refining of oils and vegetable and animal greases) and Petrosub Sureste (support services for underwater and maritime activities).

The port is also actively promoting its business profile and variety of operations through printed and electronic media, client references, as well as special ‘port weeks’ with cultural, social and sport activities for the regional community, and through participation in conferences, seminars and expositions.

Coatzacoalcos enjoys a privileged geographical setting in the region of Istmo de Tehuantepec on the left bank of Coatzacoalcos River. It is strategically a very important point which lies at the eastern end of the shortest overland route between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (only 187 miles). The port borders the municipalities of Pajápan, Cosoleacaque, Minatitlán, Ixhuatlán del Sureste, Moloacán and Choapas, with the Gulf of Mexico to the north, and with Tabasco State to the east. The road distance from the port to Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz State, is 261 miles. The harbor area of the port is located to the north of the populated areas of the city of Coatzacoalcos and has the Pajaritos petroleum complex in front of it.

The port covers a complete surface of land and water measuring 352 hectares. With the increasing demand on the services provided by Coatzacoalcos, the management of the port is well aware of the need to expand its capacity. However with only around 24 hectares of available land left for development, as part of its strategic expansion the company plans innovative investments by creating new marine terminals in 2008, one of 2,625 feet and the other of 2,953 feet.

Coatzacoalcos has an unquestionable influence over the development and industrial activities in its geographic area. It is located close to centers of various manufacturing operations as well as oil refining. The quality and range of facilities offered by the port certainly contribute to its dynamic development and the year-on-year increasing demand for its services from Mexican as well as many foreign customers. The port’s zone of influence is prominent in both the petroleum (gas, crude oil and petrochemical products) and agriculture industries across the Mexican States of Veracruz, Tabasco, Puebla, Mexico City Federal District, Oaxaca, Campeche, Chiapas, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. The largest groups of products that contribute to the impressive annual volumes of cargo traffic at Coatzacoalcos are sulfur, minerals, petrochemical products, seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural goods shipped in bulk.

The absolute commitment to clients and users of the port evident at Coatzacoalcos is reaffirmed with a certified quality management system. In 2001 the company received ISO: 9002:1994 certification. Subsequently, in the same year the Mexican authority of General Coordination of Ports and Marine Merchants (CGPMM) decided to integrate the 16 ports belonging to the National Harbor System (SPN) in a single quality management system and to certify these with the new version of the ISO: 9001:2000 standard. Having completed a transition period, Coatzacoalcos successfully underwent a review carried out by SPN authorities and acquired the new standard in December 2002.

In 2003 CPGMM decided to implement an environmental management system in the 16 SPN ports and integrate this with the existing quality management system. Coatzacoalcos received ISO: 14001:1996 approval in May 2004. Subsequently in 2005, as part of an update process, transition to ISO:14001:2004 begun and was completed by May 2006.

In addition, in 2002 the Federal Authority for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) awarded Coatzacoalcos the certification of ‘Clean Industry;’ the title was again renewed in 2004. “It is important to note that by operating so close to the populated areas as well as natural habitats, we are extremely conscious of the need to contribute to the well-being of the local society and the environment,” points out Ruiz. “By expanding and diversifying our operations we are contributing to the economic growth of the city and the region; we are also actively involved in programs aimed at protecting endangered animal species which live the area, such as crocodiles, by creating sheltered areas for their reproduction and later facilitating their release into natural environments.”

Since 2004, Coatzacoalcos has also received three consecutive recognitions as a ‘Socially Responsible Business’ for excelling in four areas of corporate social responsibility: quality of the workplace environment, business ethics, linking with the community and care and preservation of the natural environment. Awarded by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy, the title recognizes Coatzacoalcos as a business which, along its developmental path, has always focused on supporting the local and regional community as well as looking after the environment in its geographical area.

With its vision of being the first choice for logistical and business operations in the southern region of Mexico and the best options for international sea traffic, Coatzacoalcos will continue to strengthen its operations in bulk mineral and agricultural cargo, and take advantage of the increasing demand and opportunities in general cargo. The company’s strategic plan of development envisages investments aimed at improving the already impressive infrastructure and extending the territorial capacity of the port. “In addition, we will continue to operate with the highest possible levels of security and protection for the activities taking place on our premises,” says Ruiz. “We will also optimize the operating and managerial process of the port, work on improving logistical services and include new companies, which will add to the overall value of business operations at Coatzacoalcos.”

The port is also focused on further building the relations with the local community in order to maintain strong and healthy links with the people living in the region and to offer the highest possible level of protection for the natural environment. This should result in the increase of customers and diversification of the client base, as well as satisfaction of the needs and expectations of customers. In turn, the company will increase its income, maximize profitability in order to finance the development of the port and minimize costs.

The ultimate objective is to make the most of the port’s contribution while maximizing the economic and social development within its zone of influence.

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