The tour began on Saturday with the supervision of the construction of the Mitla – Tehuantepec highway, at kilometer 105.
Oaxaca de Juárez.— The heads of the General Secretariat of the Government of Oaxaca (Segego), Francisco García López, and the Investment Unit of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) of the federal government, Jorge Nuño Lara conducted a supervision tour of the works on the Mitla – Tehuantepec and Barranca Larga – Ventanilla highways.
The tour began on Saturday with the supervision of the construction of the Mitla – Tehuantepec highway, at kilometer 105; Likewise, the bridges, junctions, and viaducts connecting the communities of Lachixila, Santiago Lachiguiri, San Pedro Quiatoni, Santo Domingo Tepuxtepec, San Juan Juquila Mixes, San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla, Santiago Quiavicuzas, and Jalapa del Marqués were verified.
The Segego held a meeting during the tour with residents, municipal and community authorities of Santiago Quiavicuzas, who thanked the support of the federal and state governments for the project that was able to provide electricity to the community, as a result of the meetings that have been held with Governor Alejandro Murat, the Secretary-General of the Government and the head of the Investment Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.
The people thanked the Rural Roads program carried out by the Federal Government since it will be possible to connect the community with the highway.
The head of the SHCP Investment Unit highlighted that “this highway connects Oaxaca with the isthmus in a distance of 172 kilometers, which will allow more than 20 communities through which the line crosses, to reduce the current transfer times, since on average you can travel from Oaxaca to Tehuantepec in two hours ”.
On the second day of the work tour in the state, García López and the head of the Investment Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), carried out a work supervision tour together with the superintendents of the construction companies in charge of the execution of the works on the Barranca Larga – Ventanilla highway.
The tour began at the first supervision point for the construction of the “Miahuatlán” bridge, located at kilometer 105, which will be 132 meters long. Later, the construction of the vaults located at kilometer 126 was verified.
The head of the SHCP Investment Unit stressed that this work is very important since it allows to conduct rain runoff safely and thus comply with the request of the National Water Commission (Conagua), to increase capacity to have more security within the work.
“I thank the Secretary-General of the Government for all the support provided to be able to complete this work, the Barranca Larga highway is part of the infrastructure plan of the President of the Republic and has the purpose of increasing connectivity in the state of Oaxaca so that those who live in the area can exchange their goods and have health and education services closer, ”he said.
The head of Segego, in charge of internal politics, mentioned that “it is very important for the Government of Oaxaca, not only the word promised, but the constancy of the work and the constant visits that Jorge Nuño Lara makes in Oaxaca on the instructions of the President of the Republic, for Oaxacans this impulse is an encouragement for Oaxaca to continue growing, creating and building”.
The work supervision tour of the Barranca Larga – Ventanilla highway concluded at kilometer 143.
Before the supervision tour, both officials held meetings with authorities and inhabitants of the Coatlanes area, to verify and follow up on the works that are being carried out in parallel in more than 20 municipalities that will be crossed by the Barranca Larga highway – Ventanilla, since with the support of the Federation, roads, roofing of schools, electrification, and drinking water works are being built.
Who will benefit most from the Tehuantepec isthmus corridor?
While the logistics potential of the Tehuantepec isthmus trade corridor that the Mexican government will create is not in doubt, questions remain regarding who will benefit most from the regional opportunities the corridor is expected to create.
Two experts consulted by BNamericas have different opinions on the role that the development plan for the isthmus – one of the main projects in the infrastructure portfolio of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) – could play once the corridor is opened.
According to Germán Galván, partner at McKinsey México and co-leader of the firm’s capital productivity & infrastructure practices, the main potential of the corridor lies in the possibility to turn it into a transport route for goods produced in the region.
“Although [the project] offers opportunities from a logistics and transport perspective, perhaps the most relevant aspect of it has to do with figuring out how to include economic development considerations that can increase the productive capacity of the south-southeastern region of the country,” Galván said.
While Galván acknowledges the strategic location of the isthmus, he points out that due to the expansion made to the Panama Canal in recent years as well as to other recent projects to upgrade certain ports in North America, it would not be easy for Tehuantepec to compete towards becoming a popular trade link between Asia and the east coast of the US – which is the goal of AMLO’s project.
“Developing specific sectors there would be very valuable, as would be to use the corridor as a route to boost the distribution of local products. Whatever can be achieved when it comes to the interaction with international markets could also be very interesting.”
Galván added that once the authorities unveil the project’s master plan to the public it will be easier to analyze the potential opportunities in greater detail.
Infrastructure expert Edmundo Gamas, who is executive director of the Mexican infrastructure development institute (Imexdi), believes that China is the key element to boost the potential of the corridor.
“China is very interested in the project not only because it has the ability to provide financing and construction and equipping services for the port and railway projects, but also because a large number of its exports seek to reach the east coast of the US,” Gamas told BNamericas.
Gamas sees opportunities for a new trade link that could compete with the Panama Canal as the waterway is facing some problems that could motivate shipping operators to find an alternative route.
The ongoing trade war between China and the US could also benefit the future corridor since companies from the Asian giant are increasingly looking to relocate to countries that are not subject to US import tariffs, he added.
“If the Mexican government prepares a coherent plan to attract to the isthmus those companies seeking to relocate, the project could be a very important tool to boost industry in the area.”
However, Gamas said the positive impact from the corridor will be seen in the long term.
“[The project] will not transform the region from one day to the other and it also requires significant investments…This is not the solution the country needs to grow during this administration, but it could serve to lay the cornerstone to boost the development of the southern region throughout the following decades.”
The development program for the Tehuantepec isthmus region (PDIT) entails improving the rail and road infrastructure that connects the ports of Salina Cruz, in the Pacific state of Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, a major port in the Gulf state of Veracruz, as well as upgrading both port facilities.
This infrastructure system is meant to serve as a basis for the creation of a trade corridor that brings private investment to the area, creates jobs and businesses while serving as a regional development tool to detonate significant social and economic impacts.
The federal government declared the creation of the decentralized state-run entity Interoceanic corridor for the Tehuantepec Isthmus (CIIT), which will be in charge of integrating the activities formerly managed by the port authorities (APIs) of Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, and freight rail company Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec (FIT).
The master plan for the corridor was prepared by Enterprise Singapore, a statutory board under the authority of the trade and industry ministry of this Asian country, and has reportedly already been delivered to AMLO. The document has yet to be unveiled to the public.
Amid some local opposition and despite strong interest from abroad, AMLO has repeatedly say that the corridor will only be open to domestic investors as a matter of national sovereignty.