Inland intermodal terminals – also known as “dry ports” or “inland ports” – are terminals with connections to seaports, roads, railroads and/or airports. They operate as a logistics centre for the customs clearance, storage, consolidation and distribution of sea cargo to inland destinations.
Dry ports have become especially important in the last years due to several advantages, the main one is the fact that they allow to reduce storage and customs space overcrowding at seaports. Other benefits are:
• A lower logistics cost
• Transit time reduction
• Safe and better planned transportation
• Increased competitiveness of the region
• Investment attraction
• Employment generation
In the case of Mexico, after the NAFTA signature, the government aimed to develop a network of inland ports that could support the increasing goods traffic between Canada, USA and Mexico. Nowadays, the country counts with 15 dry ports connected to the four main seaports – Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific Ocean and Altamira and Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico.
According to managers of different intermodal terminals in the country,there are at least 10 potential states for the creation of new inland terminals. Today, we will focus on one of the newest ports: Intermodal Logistics Terminal Hidalgo (TILH).
In 2009 started the construction of the Intermodal Logistics Terminal Hidalgo in the city Atotonilco de Tula, an export-oriented project from “Mexican Logistics Group”, which is an alliance between Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH, a port operations firm) and UNNE (Union of Business, a transport firm).
The project cost 200 million dollars and was finally opened on March 26, 2012. The terminal has the capacity to employ 10 thousand workers and to move 220 thousand containers per year; it counts with 196 hectares – 56 operated by HPH and 140 for logistics activity operated by UNNE –, additional 300 hectares of reserves for future expansion and 9 km of railways with connection to the three main railway companies in Mexico (Ferrosur, Ferromex and KCSM).
The TILH is located in a strategic node of road and rail links to the most important maritime corridors and the northern border with the USA, being the main connection point in the transportation chain between seaports (mainly Veracruz and Lázaro Cárdenas) and the Mexican Valley. The services offered by TILH are:
• Train arrivals and departures
• Loading and unloading of containers
• General cargo handling
• Storage and custody of goods
• Consolidation and deconsolidation
• Pre-loaded services
• Interior customs
• Cargo logistics services
• Transfer in different stages of transit
The terminal has excellent perspectives for growth and development: in 2013 it exceeded the projected volume by 25%, which means it operated 28,838 containers; and this year, it is expected not only to double last year’s amount, but to reach the goal of 70,000 containers.
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