Port activity in Mexico began with the arrival of the conquerors, although chronicles suggest that the Aztecs already made use of canoes, oars and sails for the transportation of people and merchandise. Amongst ports however, it was this arrival that brought on significant marine activity.
In colonial times, in order to export valuable minerals, it became necessary to create the first ports of the country, Veracruz and Campeche in the Gulf, and many years later, Acapulco, San Blas and Salina Cruz, in the Pacific.
Types of Port Administration
The first types of Port administration, following Mexico’s Independence, were rooted in Naval War, because originally they fused with these types of activities, and the merchant marine.
With the passing of time, the changes in port administration have been diverse and varied, at some times under the handling of Port Captains, at others to Customs administrators. Finally to the Secretary of Communications and Public Works, by way of the Marine Department, under which are the Port Captains, and in turn the Marine Secretary.
During these administration periods, we can point out that the permits and authorizations for stevedoring services in port areas that fall under federal jurisdiction, were given by the Federal Executive to the Workers Organizations.
This administrative system gave way to the division of maneuvers, and created specialized workers Unions, according to the work area, which caused serious problems during the handling of merchandise, making them slow, unproductive, and dangerous. However, it is important to mention that these problems did not exist in all ports.
Creation of Port Services of Manzanillo, S.A. de C.V.
Due to these problems, in 1970 the National Commission for Port Coordination, made up of the Government, Port Workers and Port Clients. Among the responsibilities of this commission was to create a safe environment for workers, and fair tariffs, security and protection for merchandise for clients. In 1971, Port Services o Manzanillo (SEPORMAN) was created, one of its first activities was to create a single workers organization in order to carry out stevedoring services.
It also acquired adequate equipment and trained personnel in order to improve the quality of service rendered.
Creation of Mexican Ports
As of 1989 an independent entity, Mexican Ports was created, with the following objectives...
Plan, Program and Execute activities for national port development.
Propose port delimitation.
Build, increase and conserve marine port projects.
Determine technical specifications of sea and port equipment.
Promote and contribute to port equipment.
For the first time in the modern history of ports, Mexican Ports became a capable organism that could generate its own resources by collecting fees (port, docking, mooring and storage). At the same time bringing together all entities related to port activities, making business easier for port clients.
Mexican Port’s activities gave way to a new port restructuring in this country, which began in June of 1993 as a result of the new Port Law.
National Restructuring of the Port System.
The GENERAL COORDINATION OF PORTS AND MERCHANT MARINES was created.
The first 21 Port Administrations were created, among them Manzanillo.
This Coordination eliminates Mexican Ports and Port Services in Manzanillo.
As of the introduction of the Integral Port Administrations, the ports in this country become self-sufficient, all resources generated, remain in the port, all previous port fees now become fees for use of infrastructure. Ports become more productive and competitive.
This allowed the ports to be important for public revenues, via payments of counter loans (products of cessions given by API´S, taxes and utilities.
The privatization process for the operation of terminals and installations, and for rendering port services began. Private capital was invested in these services, terminals and installations, and under clear laws, Free Competition began, along with the benefits it affords clients.
A new labor reform was created, along with new unions, and new work contracts were signed due to the fact that the private companies deal directly with the worker’s unions.
The Constitution of Integral Port Administrations (API)
In December 1993, following the restructuring of the ports, and the new Port Law, API Manzanillo was constituted. It began operations on February 2, 1994, with a Concession Title, for the Integral Administration of the Port Precinct of Manzanillo, as well as the authorization to administrate it and the corresponding tariffs for infrastructure use.
Some important aspects of the API´s Concession Title are:
The development planning and use of the earth is determined in the port.
Resources generated in the port are to be allocated only for the development of shared installations and new projects.
To have Rules of Operation of the Port of Manzanillo.
Problems generated as a result of port activities will be discussed in a Operations Committee, in which representatives from all entities relevant to the port are present and which is presided over by API Manzanillo.
Through public bids, there is the possibility of allocating areas to be developed into installations, terminals or areas for specialized terminals.
Also contemplated is giving contracts for rendering services, under clear rules making sure to maintain free competition.
The possibility of foreign investment, up to 100% is opened, as long as it is through a company established in this country.
As of 1995, API Manzanillo began its process of privatizing terminals, installations and services by giving, for the first time ever the Specialized Terminal for Containers, the No. I Multiple Use Installation and the Tug Boat services to private companies.
Currently, API Manzanillo has been able to privatize all the services that are currently offered within the port, creating free competition for our clients, as far as tariffs are concerned. Similarly, we are still working towards attracting new private investments for the Port of Manzanillo, as well is more public investment with API´s own resources for construction and maintenance of port infrastructure.
Last updated on: 01/08/2009 (09:06)