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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

President Calderón Kicks Off Punta Colonet Mega-Port

by Carlos Duran

Photo credits: left, BC Gov. Osuna Millán, Pres. Felipe Calderón visit port and explain project to media.

During the last few years there had been lots of talk of the possibility of a major port and rail line from Bahía Punta Colonet to transport goods to the U.S. Finally, the many obstacles that seemed, to many, insurmountable have been resolved and President Calderón formally announced on August 28th that bids are being accepted for the construction and operation of the port and rail connections to the border.

“This project represents an investment of $50 billion pesos from private investors that are awarded the Concessions, which includes building a port and related infrastructure equivalent in scope to the modernization of The Panama Canal,” President Calderón explained.

The need for additional maritime inter-modal Pacific Rim transport arises as U.S. westcoast ports, such as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, are at capacity. In addition, the huge supercargo vessels of today cannot even enter those ports. The Punta Colonet port is a deep-water port that would be capable of handling service to those freighters.

The port location is 140 kilometer south of Ensenada that includes port administration, a container terminal with room for 32 freighters as well as one, maybe two, rail lines for transport of containers to the U.S. Construction and operations of the project is expected to generate 83,000 jobs—24,000 during construction and 59,000 for operations—and is estimated to contribute around $500 million dollars annually to the economy.

The rail line options include: Colonet to Mexicali, Yuma, Nogales or El Paso, though each bidder would recommend the most efficient route. There are plans to improve the Ensenada to Punta Colonet highway and to other locations in Northern Baja as well.