In 1997 it was just an empty field, but now 84 companies call it home. Parque Industrial Querétaro, the best industrial park in Latin America, caters to multinational companies, and has plans to expand and accommodate even more clients. Rachel Hartman investigates this company’s remarkable growth and success during its 11 years of business.
Step inside Parque Industrial Querétaro and you may feel overwhelmed: the industrial park covers more than 1,200 acres. To help you get around, park officials
recently inaugurated a bus system that workers and visitors can use. Parque Industrial Querétaro is the only industrial park in Mexico with its own internal transportation system. “We started the shuttle service in April 2008,” says René Jasso, the company’s sales and promotions manager. “Due to the park’s large size, we needed a system to help workers get around.”
The internal transportation system is one of the perks that park clients receive for participating in the Honors Association, a program Parque Industrial Querétaro started to maintain a clean, safe and efficient atmosphere. By paying a monthly fee, clients can expect to receive a number of services, including street maintenance, park security, and now access to the shuttle bus. “The park has an efficient and professionally-run administration that appeals to many companies,” says Jasso.
The industrial park is situated in the city of Querétaro, just 120 miles from Mexico City. It is in the heart of central Mexico, an area where the country’s major highways and railroad systems converge. Its location is right at the intersection of what some refer to as the “NAFTA Highway.” Park clients have direct access to
Highway 57, the country’s major trucking corridor. They also are close to the by-pass toll highway that connects Querétaro to Mexico City. A company at Parque Industrial Querétaro, or PIQ, can effectively serve 68 percent of Mexico, and the transportation access makes distribution cost-efficient.
The city of Querétaro and the surrounding region offer additional benefits for companies. “Querétaro is a very industrial-minded city,” says Jasso. The region’s infrastructure is well-equipped for industrial parks, and local officials widely support the influx of national and international companies that open operations in the area.
“There is a strong workforce here that’s young and qualified,” Jasso adds. Workers often live nearby, in one of the 45 residential communities located within 10 miles of the park. And a company at PIQ can reach more than 45 million people within a
The area also has many comfortable residential areas. “Companies from 14 different countries have come to our park,” he explains. “When they arrive, many look for certain standards of quality. They can live comfortably here.” Querétaro has a mild climate, with temperatures averaging 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and cool nights. The city also has highly academic schools and is known as a safe city within Mexico’s borders.
Companies find that operations in the park meet many industrial standards. “The park was planned, designed and constructed to meet all the infrastructure requirements that companies need to set up a manufacturing process here,” Jasso notes. The plots of land come with access to electricity and natural gas pipelines. With three wells inside the park, clients have a reliable and abundant water supply. The interior roads were designed and built for heavy traffic. It also has a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, a sanitary and rainwater sewer system, and an optic-fiber voice and data system. “It’s a modern park, designed to operate in a similar way as one in the United States or Canada.”
Parque Industrial Querétaro currently employs an estimated 20 workers, who manage the park’s operations and respond to its customers’ needs. Samsung, COOPER Tools, Beachmold, TRW and Omni are just a few of the park’s current 84 clients.
According to Jasso, plans to develop Parque Industrial Querétaro began in 1997, and the first sales came in 1998. During the following years, the park’s available space continued to fill up. Ninetyfive percent of the land was sold during the first 10 years. Today, 92 percent of the park’s 1,200 acres is occupied.
In terms of land surface, PIQ is the second largest industrial park in Mexico. When it comes to market share, the company has established a strong presence. During the last 10 years, the park has captured 60 percent of market share in land transactions in Mexico’s central region.
Jasso credits this growth to the park’s strategic location and well-run administration and facilities. He notes that the park’s vacancy is extremely low, hovering between just 2 and 3 percent. Last year one of the park’s clients, whose headquarters are in the United Sates, had to pull its operations back home for internal reasons. “They decided to rent out their space, and it rented out to another client just like that,” says Jasso.
While companies in many different sectors find PIQ attractive, currently two-thirds of the park’s clientele are in the automotive industry. “This is a result of Mexico’s strategic geographic location,” explains Jasso. It is relatively easy to export goods from Mexico to the United States, a country with a vast automotive market.
Clients come from other industries as well, including aeronautics, plastics, chemicals, construction materials, manufacturing and home appliances. These companies arrive from all over the world. The park’s current client lists consists of businesses with headquarters in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
Many companies find that costs are lower in the central region of Mexico than along the U.S.-Mexico border. Land and construction costs tend to be slightly less in the center of the country, and labor force is often more cost-efficient. Companies that set up operations in PIQ can choose to purchase land and build or rent an existing facility. PIQ has a strategic alliance with Vesta, a leading real estate developer that maintains an inventory buildings program at PIQ to make available vacant space for new customers.
PLANS TO EXPAND
Company officials recognize that the park is almost full, and plan to expand in the coming years. “During the next five years, the park should have 500 more acres of developed land,” Jasso says. With these efforts, it will be able to incorporate approximately 20 more businesses. As the plan is carried out, an estimated 5,000 new jobs will be created. “With this expansion, we will become the largest industrial park in not only Mexico, but also Latin America,” notes Jasso.
In addition to expanding the industrial park, company officials have plans to develop a new project in Querétaro. “We’re going to create a logistics park in the coming years,” says Jasso. This will serve as a distribution and warehouse center for companies. It will be located near the airport in Querétaro, and will be in close proximity to highways and railways as well. The new park will cover approximately 225 acres. Its growth and expansion plans, coupled with its overall success, have proven beneficial for the park’s investors. During the past 10 years, their investments have appreciated importantly.