United States , Mexico and Canada

Where Caxxor wants to take the US$3.3bn T-MEC corridor this year

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Where Caxxor wants to take the US$3.3bn T-MEC corridor this year

Caxxor Group, which develops the US$3.3bn T-MEC rail corridor connecting Mexico’s Sinaloa state, the US and Winnipeg in Canada, is aiming to start physical works this year.

The corridor involves a new floating port in Sinaloa, a 180km Durango-Mazatlán rail link and two industrial parks in Mexico’s Coahuila state and two in Durango.

In this interview, CEO Carlos Ortiz tells BNamericas that the three countries’ leaders are highly supportive of the project, and he provides an update on the progress so far, as well as the goals for this year.

BNamericas: How is the T-MEC corridor progressing?

Ortiz: Doing a recount, we started this project in 2021 and last year we somehow already started with the paperwork. In 2021, we got the investment interest. So we put 100% of the money into development, that was the first thing we did.

In 2022, we have been looking at feasibility. Around February, we received confirmation from [infrastructure, communications and transport ministry] SICT that the rail was feasible.

In May, we got the land for port development. In June, we presented the project to the navy ministry [Semar], which gave us a bit of the green light to continue. And in recent months we have been working on the environmental part, all this part of the concession in maritime, terrestrial areas of the federal zone, which covers most land.

This year, we hope to start physical work. It's incredible, but the most challenging part occurs before the start, let's say getting everything aligned, all the permits, getting the concessions, etc. That's what has the greatest merit and, once acquired, construction can start efficiently.

We’ll also start the commercial part this year. At the end of the day, we only play the role of project developers.

Our goal has always been to start before the administration changes because it is like starting over a bit, so we are on time. By the end of this year, the project has to be in the construction phase and have all the permits and a commercial part as well.

BNamericas: Who would be the operator?

Ortiz: Operating companies that are in the market and have many years of experience. At the end of the day, several operators will have to compete to see which could be the most suitable one.

Caxxor is the developer, but there is a company called Corredor T-MEC which has all these structures; there is Durango-Sinaloa Railroad which is requesting part of the concession; there is Sinaloa Maritime Terminal, which will apply for the concession and has the land.

BNamericas: What has happened since August, when Caxxor hired Texan firm AECOM as project manager in charge of hiring?

Ortiz: We still don't have [the contract] fully closed. We were approached by other project managers to review the mechanism for these contracts. I think the companies will be fully defined by mid-year; I think that by April we will be opening the commercial part, much more will be known about the project, the lots, the land, the companies, participants. Around June we’ll know the builders, the parts that will enter the strong construction part.

BNamericas: Where do you expect the project to be this time next year?

Ortiz: At that time, everything that is permits, concessions, etc., the legal part, is 100% complete, as are environmental issues, so the project is ready to be built. That has to happen before the end of this year, though, with progress of physical work, even if it’s just an early stage.

BNamericas: Caxxor has met with lots of local and US players, so which ones are yet to join and which ones have confirmed?

Ortiz: I see a lot of interest from the US government. We held several meetings in Washington, for example, on behalf of the US government. I think it is a strategic project for them. I saw that with ambassador [Ken Salazar]; he was very enthusiastic. It is a transformative project for the country and for North America.

I also see the government of Canada as highly committed and Mexico’s federal government. I could tell you that they are fully prepared. I know that President [Andrés Manuel López Obrador] also fully supports the project and Semar head [José Rafael Ojeda Durán] was also very open.

We have not talked with all the areas involved. I need foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard, whom we started contacting after the meeting with the ambassador. We thought it important to involve the foreign affairs ministry more. The economy ministry has also promoted the project a lot and well, it is an infrastructure that can change large part of how logistics work in our country. And the link with the US is essential.

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