The need for world-class manufacturing and engineering talent in the automotive sector has reached a fever pitch as automakers, along with Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, gain velocity in delivering on the many promises of electrification. Success requires careful maneuvering around seemingly endless technology, supply chain and production speed bumps.

For that reason, among others, Molex recently opened a factory in Guadalajara, Mexico, to accelerate innovation on behalf of automotive, transportation and industrial customers in North America and globally. While the company’s manufacturing presence in Mexico has grown steadily for more than a half-century, this move is aimed at alleviating complex challenges in vehicle connectivity, electrification, battery management, functional safety and zonal architectures.

By doubling down on a new facility nearly twice as large as its existing Guadalajara footprint, Molex attains ready access to advanced manufacturing capabilities and a diversified pool of highly experienced engineers. This enables us to extend and complement our engineering resources throughout North America, Asia and Europe.

According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), Mexico produces approximately 3 million vehicles annually, with 76% destined for the United States. A long list of automakers has factories throughout the country, including Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Stellantis, Toyota and Volkswagen. Additionally, over 1,100 Tier 1 and several thousand Tier 2 and Tier 3 auto-parts manufacturers and suppliers have operations in Mexico.

Anyone prioritizing Mexico as a labor-arbitrage solution is missing the point. This country clearly has so much to offer. Mexico’s emphasis on STEM education is contributing to a rapid rise in engineering talent. In metro Guadalajara alone, more than 20 universities offer engineering programs focused on electronics, software, renewable-energy technologies and artificial intelligence.

Mexico also offers excellent opportunities for “nearshoring,” which relocates manufacturing closer to final delivery destinations. Trade agreements, such as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), provide incentives that can lower production costs while strengthening a company’s North American presence.

What stands out, however, is Mexico’s budding reputation as the “Silicon Valley of the South.” In particular, Guadalajara has become a hotbed for innovation, encouraging leading-edge product development and entrepreneurial thinking, along with increased foreign and venture-capital investments. According to Credit Suisse’s Mexico Nearshoring Tracker Second Edition released in October, Volkswagen, Flex Americas, Continental, Bosch and Molex contributed the most to the $2 billion invested during the quarter.

Molex’s decision to expand south of the U.S. border took place well before the pandemic and massive supply chain disruptions that caught many companies off guard. The company’s strategy to invest $130 million in a second factory in Guadalajara emerged from ongoing discussions about broadening supply chains, shortening lead times, localizing production and accessing specialized expertise to spur electrification.

These goals aligned with Molex’s plan to embrace factory-of-the-future capabilities, including production-line automation, advanced materials handling, robotics, cutting-edge molding and assembly, digital twins, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, machine learning and other data-driven, digital technologies, tools and processes.

Expansion in Guadalajara also enabled the company to apply expertise from working with makers of sophisticated medical devices, high-speed networks and powerful data-center solutions — all critical to developing tomorrow’s electric vehicles, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. We now can readily tap into a region rich with relevant customer experiences, proven engineering talent and overarching commitments to R&D.

Guadalajara has a strong foothold in electronics, medical devices and automotive manufacturing. The biggest EMS players — including Jabil, Flex and Sanmina, among others — have world-class factories here. Many tech titans in software, hardware and digital technologies also have a growing presence, which bodes well for the automotive industry because cars of the future will function more like data centers on wheels.

Equally important is the increase in on-site testing capabilities, such as the reliability and metrology lab Molex is implementing in Guadalajara. The goal is to empower local engineers to improve product designs and speed development cycles using testing, simulations and analyses that reduce rework costs and time. In collaboration with customers and colleagues, Molex is committed to Mexico for the long haul — and excited about discovering new and creative ways to continually add customer value.



Relatively cheap labor and its proximity to the U.S. has made Mexico an ideal destination for industries to manufacture their products, including electric carstoys, and medical supplies.

Mexico’s manufacturing industry has been “booming” as a result of recent nearshoring initiatives, BofA’s Capistrán wrote. The sector has grown 5% so far in 2022 alone, and has already exceeded its pre-pandemic size, he added.

Capistrán noted that average labor costs in Mexico are now cheaper than in China, incentivizing more companies to move manufacturing operations to its shores.

These factors—combined with a preexisting free trade framework between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.—could help Mexico increase its exports by 30% over the next several years, BofA analysts wrote.

Banks are already jumping on the region’s promise as a new manufacturing hub to replace China. In July, the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest developmental finance institution servicing Latin America and the Caribbean, announced it would inject between $1.75 and $2.25 billion to support nearshoring and relocation projects in Mexico over the next three years.

In a separate study in June, the IDB found that nearshoring could add $78 billion in export value in Latin America over the next few years, with Mexico seeing the biggest gains, adding $35.3 billion in annual export value.

Relatively cheap labor and its proximity to the U.S. has made Mexico an ideal destination for industries to manufacture their products, including electric carstoys, and medical supplies.

Mexico’s manufacturing industry has been “booming” as a result of recent nearshoring initiatives, BofA’s Capistrán wrote. The sector has grown 5% so far in 2022 alone, and has already exceeded its pre-pandemic size, he added.

Capistrán noted that average labor costs in Mexico are now cheaper than in China, incentivizing more companies to move manufacturing operations to its shores.

These factors—combined with a preexisting free trade framework between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.—could help Mexico increase its exports by 30% over the next several years, BofA analysts wrote.

Banks are already jumping on the region’s promise as a new manufacturing hub to replace China. In July, the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest developmental finance institution servicing Latin America and the Caribbean, announced it would inject between $1.75 and $2.25 billion to support nearshoring and relocation projects in Mexico over the next three years.


Source: El Financiero

Mexico’s maquiladoras, an important generator of manufacturing and employment activity along the U.S.–Mexico border, confront a changing landscape. Evolving global trade patterns, reflecting stressed supply chains and increasing electric vehicle production, will test maquiladora agility and growth prospects.

The role of Mexican maquiladoras—large, mostly foreign-owned plants engaging in labor-intensive assembly of intermediate and final goods for export—has evolved over the years, though the basics remain the same.

Most inputs are imported duty-free from the U.S. or another country. U.S. tariffs are applied only to the value that is added by assembly on products sent back across the border.

However, more than two years removed from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the maquiladora operating environment has changed. Global trade, including chronic input shortages and the specter of a worldwide economic slowdown, poses tough challenges. Moreover, longstanding auto assembly and parts businesses, making up the largest portion of maquiladora output, confront a transition to electric vehicles that require new and different manufacturing processes.

Manufacturing for Export

Rules adopted in 2007 merged the maquiladora industry and a program for homegrown exporters into what is currently known as the Manufacturing, Maquila and Export Service Industry Program. The more familiar name, “maquiladora,” is used here. In 2021, maquiladoras accounted for 58 percent of Mexico’s manufacturing GDP (as well as a majority of the country’s manufacturing exports) and 48 percent of industrial employment.

For perspective, manufacturing represented 19 percent of Mexico’s overall GDP and 19 percent of employment. In the U.S., manufacturing accounts for 11 percent of GDP and 8.4 percent of employment.

Besides auto parts and automobiles, maquiladora production includes electronics, medical devices, aircraft parts and machinery. Maquiladoras also sell engineering services.

Following adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, maquiladora activity became increasingly correlated with U.S. manufacturing production and, thus, susceptible to recessions and expansions north of the border.

When there is a pickup in U.S. consumer demand for refrigerators, televisions, washing machines or automobiles, production orders reach Mexican maquiladoras. They specialize in the relatively labor-intensive side of production, while the U.S. engages in the more capital-intensive part of the process.

By spreading production costs across borders and taking advantage of lower labor costs in Mexico, firms can produce at a lower average unit cost, which leads to greater competitiveness in both global and domestic markets and to lower prices for consumers.

International competitors, notably Chinese manufacturers, have pressured the maquiladora sector, much as they have done to U.S. manufacturing. In the early 2000s, a U.S. recession and increased competition from China following the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization forced the maquiladora industry to downsize and cut employment. The industry was again tested during the Great Recession of 2007–09 and later amid the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

After the Great Recession, maquiladora employment took more than three years to recover, while production required a year and a half to return. By comparison, U.S. manufacturing has not yet recovered. Employment remains 5.2 percent below pre-Great Recession levels, while production lags behind by 2.9 percent.

In the wake of the pandemic in 2020, supply-chain issues particularly affected the automotive sector, reducing new orders and sending the maquiladora industry into another production downturn, the recovery from which required nine months (Chart 1). Employment was virtually unaffected, reflecting the difficulty of firing and then rehiring workers in Mexico.

Chart 1

Wages and Productivity

Of the many reasons for factories to locate in Mexico, proximity to the U.S. and preferential tariffs predominate. Mexico has 13 free-trade agreements with 50 countries—including the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), the 2020 successor to NAFTA. There are also preferential considerations granted to maquiladoras.

Mexico has a plentiful labor supply, with an economically active population of 58 million. Relatively low labor costs remain a primary factor prompting foreign companies—mainly from the U.S.—to locate manufacturing operations in Mexico. The country’s average hourly wage was $6.57 in purchasing-power-adjusted dollars in 2021, significantly lower than in other advanced economies such as Canada, $25.24; Germany, $27.18; and the U.S., $34.74. Mexican wages trail comparable eastern European economies such as Poland, $15.75, and the Czech Republic, $15.05 (Chart 2).

Chart 2

Such wage differences reflect much more than differences in labor costs; they also indicate more capital-intensive production and higher productivity among workers in the high-wage countries. Mexico’s low-cost labor and low-productivity growth is the product of less worker schooling and training combined with a large informal sector (relatively untaxed with little government oversight), lack of access to credit, government red tape and a poor business climate.

Mexico’s gross domestic product per worker (in constant U.S. dollars calculated at purchasing power parity to ensure an accurate comparison) increased at an annual rate of 0.3 percent from 2010 to 2021. This is well below the average for the Czech Republic (1.4 percent) and Poland (2.6 percent) over the same period. Comparable GDP-per-worker growth was 1.3 percent in the U.S and 0.9 percent in Canada.

U.S. Border Spillovers

Most maquiladora employment remains concentrated in Mexican border states (though plant proximity to the U.S. has not been a government requirement for many years). Together, the Mexican states bordering Texas (from east to west: Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Chihuahua) plus the other border states of Sonora and Baja California represent 62 percent of total maquiladora employment.

Four of the top five maquiladora states border Texas. Historically, the economic benefits of these large industrial complexes have spilled over into neighboring Texas cities, creating jobs in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, logistics, real estate and services.

States adjacent to Texas tend to produce automobile-related parts and components, while those near California and Arizona specialize in consumer and business electronics.

The industry concentration in northern Mexico has created an economic development divide that generally separates the northern and southern regions. In the north, where 30 percent of the population lives in poverty, the informal sector accounts for 40 percent of jobs. In the hardscrabble south, 57 percent of the population lives in poverty, the highest concentration in Mexico, and about 70 percent of the labor force works in the informal sector.

Seeking New Opportunities

Maquiladoras have slowly shifted from low-skill, low-wage production toward high-wage, high-productivity operations. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 hastened this evolution as lower-end production moved overseas.

The shift to higher productivity over the past several decades provides insight into where the industry is headed. The top five fastest-growing sectors—absent the period of pandemic disruption—are transportation equipment, paper, plastics and rubber products, fabricated metal products and primary metals manufacturing. This manufacturing activity generally boasts higher wages and higher labor productivity than the national average (Table 1).

Table 1: Maquiladora Selected Statistics by Sector

 Share of total
employment (%)
Change in
Average labor
wage, 2021
2021 ppp
NAICS Total nation 2,791,909 40.8 2.2 4.8 9.6
336 Transportation equipment 932,093 33.4 96.9 2.4 4.9 10.0
322 Paper 44,916 1.6 89.0 3.0 4.5 9.1
326 Plastics & rubber products 191,702 6.9 66.7 2.1 4.3 8.7
332 Fabricated metal products 148,898 5.3 53.1 2.8 4.9 10.0
331 Primary metal mfg 89,060 3.2 47.9 4.3 6.6 13.4
333 Machinery, except electrical 110,811 4.0 46.7 1.6 5.4 10.9
339 Miscellaneous manufactured
215,179 7.7 46.4 1.2 5.1 10.3
323 Printed matter and related
16,440 0.6 38.1 1.8 4.0 8.04
316 Leather & allied products 24,169 0.9 35.7 3.6 3.8 7.7
337 Furniture & fixtures 40,563 1.5 31.6 -0.2 4.2 8.4
325 Chemicals 64,496 2.3 26.2 2.4 4.9 9.9
312 Beverages & tobacco
38,524 1.4 14.5 0.7 5.9 11.9
334 Computer & electronic
366,471 13.1 12.6 -1.7 4.9 9.8
311 Food & kindred products 125,261 4.5 10.1 3.2 4.0 8.0
327 Nonmetallic mineral
55,712 2.0 9.2 3.0 4.3 8.6
335 Electrical equipment,
appliances & components
190,712 6.8 6.0 2.0 4.6 9.2
321 Wood products 9,531 0.3 0.6 2.6 3.6 7.21
314 Textile mill products 14,137 0.5 -7.0 -0.2 3.8 7.65
313 Textiles & fabrics 32,518 1.2 -13.1 0.9 3.0 6.1
315 Apparel & accessories 80,716 2.9 -34.4 0.9 2.4 4.9
NOTE: The table refers to IMMEX statistics (Mexico’s Manufacturing, Maquila and Export Service Industry Program); ppp stands for purchasing-power-parity-adjusted dollars.
SOURCES: National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática); author’s calculations.

Rubber and metal products manufacturers bend, form and weld metal and plastic parts used in the production of components and finished products for U.S. automakers. Paper manufacturing represents just 1.6 percent of total employment but has grown rapidly with the booming U.S. e-commerce business that boosted demand for boxes and other packaging.

By comparison, low-wage employment has declined, affecting sectors such as textiles and fabrics and apparel and accessories manufacturing.

Autos’ Leading Role

Maquiladoras’ future will likely include their biggest industry—auto parts manufacturing and auto assembly. U.S. and Mexico have a long history of motor vehicle production that preceded the maquiladora program.

Ford became the first entrant in Mexico when it began assembling Model Ts in Mexico City in 1925. General Motors and Chrysler built their initial Mexican assembly plants in the 1930s. Although the maquiladora program set the stage for U.S.–Mexico market integration, the auto industry did not take full advantage until the 1980s.

During the decade, Mexico shifted its auto industry policy toward export promotion. Vehicle manufacturers responded by opening modern and competitive plants, representing the beginning of the process of integrating Mexico into North America’s auto industry. Broader North American vehicle production consolidation came with NAFTA in 1994.

Transportation equipment manufacturing represents one-third of maquiladora employment and production and 3.6 percent of Mexico’s GDP. Besides cars, SUVs, buses and trucks, the sector includes all related manufacturing—engines and engine parts, electronics, steering and suspension components, brake systems, transmission and power-train components, seating and interior trim.

Transportation production employment growth averaged 9 percent per year from 2008 to 2021, while output as a percentage of total manufacturing increased from 9 percent in 2008 to 12 percent in 2021.

This expansion contributed to Mexico becoming a global leader in internal combustion engine vehicle manufacturing—No. 7 in total world vehicle production and No. 1 in Latin America. Additionally, Mexico is No. 4 in automotive parts exports worldwide and the top supplier of autos and auto parts to the U.S. (Chart 3).

Chart 3 vehicles poses a challenge to Mexico’s transportation equipment manufacturing leadership. Almost 1.8 million electric vehicles were registered in the U.S. in 2020, more than three times as many as in 2016. Detroit’s Big Three automakers have announced plans for electric vehicles to represent 40 to 50 percent of new vehicle sales by 2030.

Manufacturing internal combustion and electric vehicles is fundamentally different. Electric vehicles are mechanically simpler, with many fewer parts than a traditional internal combustion unit. For example, a typical electric motor used to power an electric vehicle has three parts. By comparison, a typical four-cylinder internal combustion engine has 113 moving parts. A gearbox for an internal combustion engine vehicle has 27 moving parts; its electric vehicle counterpart has 12. Overall, an electric vehicle powertrain has 79 percent fewer moving and “wear” parts—meaning fewer parts to manufacture.

Industry experts anticipate that from 2020 to 2025, a large share of automotive component demand will shift toward electric powertrains, batteries, advanced driver assistance systems, sensors, infotainment and communication at the expense of conventional components such as transmissions, brakes, axles, exhaust systems, steering and fuel systems (Chart 4).

Chart 4

Still other vehicle technology changes, such as more computer software and advances in autonomous driving, have accelerated a convergence of automotive manufacturing and technology, transferring significant supplier value from parts and components to software.

As a result, technology and consumer electronic companies are entering the automotive value chain. Japan’s Sony and China’s Baidu—neither traditional automakers—have announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles.

Studies undertaken of these developments’ impact on the European Union predict net automotive manufacturing job losses should a complete transition to electric vehicles occur. The European Association of Automotive Suppliers, for example, estimates a net job loss of 275,000 positions (about 8 percent of the total) because the 226,000 new jobs generated by growth in electric vehicle components will be insufficient to offset the roughly 500,000 jobs lost among automotive suppliers. However, official reports by the European Commission show a much less severe impact on aggregate employment.

Electric Vehicle Pivot

The U.S.–Mexico manufacturing relationship reflects decades of production integration, with large, specialized industries spreading costs across borders. As U.S. automakers plan their conversion to electric vehicle production, they are instituting changes in their Mexican subsidiaries.

General Motors announced in 2021 that it will invest $1 billion in its factory in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, to produce two electric Chevrolet SUVs in 2023. GM plans to offer 30 all-electric vehicles by 2025. Ford recently began producing the Mustang Mach-E in Cuautitlan in the state of Mexico and announced two additional midsize electric crossovers will be built in the same plant.

Additionally, several electric vehicle parts manufacturers are believed to be looking at Mexican operations to support production for the U.S. market. China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology, the world’s biggest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, is considering plant sites in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and in Saltillo, Coahuila, to potentially supply Tesla and Ford—a possible $5 billion investment.

While the maquiladora industry has quickly adapted to changes in technology and those arising from business cycles, the shift to electric vehicles is different, creating demand for new types of auto parts with possible competition from new market entrants.

Post-COVID Opportunity

Maquiladoras may benefit from the much-discussed reshoring or near-shoring of manufacturing arising from pandemic supply disruptions and simmering trade disputes with China.

Aggregate data don’t yet show clear evidence of a shift in U.S. imports from Asia and Europe to Canada and Mexico. Average import shares are about the same now as before the pandemic. Near-shoring won’t happen overnight, but Mexico could potentially capitalize from such an opportunity in the medium to long term.

The USMCA has applied new pressure to maquiladoras. It is more restrictive in some respects than NAFTA, particularly involving the automotive sector. It imposes restrictions on the origin of steel, aluminum and vehicle parts and new requirements governing labor and wages.

The new rules-of-origin and higher-wage requirements will increase production costs that, in turn, imply higher prices, reduced output and a decrease in consumer surplus in North America. Projections indicate the USMCA negatively affects all countries in North America, though Mexico stands to sustain the biggest loss to auto production and GDP.

Mexican government policies pose another challenge for maquiladoras. For example, recent changes in electricity generation rules favoring the state-run utility over cheaper power sources could raise costs for businesses. Labor market regulations are also changing, pushing up labor costs.

Additionally, challenges to private sector and foreign investment in Mexico are increasing, something that is especially problematic given the country’s weak public investment.

These and other changes could signal a departure from what has been an investment-friendly environment since NAFTA, dimming Mexico’s prospects in what has become an increasingly volatile global business environment.


Source: Jesus Cañas, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Are the US and Mexico winning globalization?

The era of globalization could be slowing as companies continue to battle supply chain challenges and reshoring continues to be a trend discussed in all sorts of industries.

Moving production closer to end users in the United States — reshoring and nearshoring initiatives — could make supply chains more resilient by eliminating long shipping routes while also bringing more manufacturing jobs back to North America, said Tasneem Manjra, CEO and co-founder of Caravan.

“Reshoring is huge, and I’m hearing this trend a lot as we talk to potential clients,” Manjra told FreightWaves. “[Companies] want to make decisions about reshoring for a number of reasons — for political reasons, to make sure that the countries that they work with are politically sound. They also don’t want to have the labor crisis that China has, for example, or they want to make sure that they are closer to home for environmental purposes, creating a smaller footprint.”

San Francisco-based Caravan is a vendor relationship platform that aims to streamline and optimize the way manufacturers and retailers engage with their vendors.

Nearshoring often explains when a company moves work to another organization that’s in a nearby region or country. Reshoring is the process of returning domestic product manufacturing from a foreign country back to the home country where the business products are sold.

A recent example of nearshoring is California-based toymaker Mattel, which announced in March it was consolidating all North American manufacturing to its plant in Monterrey, Mexico.

Mattel said it was also investing $47 million to expand the Monterrey plant, where it employs nearly 3,500 workers, becoming the company’s largest manufacturing site. Mattel closed two of its factories in Asia in 2019, as well as plants in Montreal, Canada, and another in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2021, ahead of expansion of its Monterrey factory.

“We believe that Mexico, given its geographical position, has a unique opportunity to position itself as a toy hub in the world. To contribute to the development of this industry in Mexico, we have supported local suppliers and motivated international suppliers to establish themselves in [Mexico],” said Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel, according to El Financiero.

California-based semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corp.’s announcement in January that it was investing $20 billion to build two chip factories near Columbus, Ohio, was a big recent win for the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Construction of the plants is expected to begin later this year, with production coming online at the end of 2025. The two Ohio plants are expected to create 3,000 direct jobs.

Intel, which has a global workforce of 116,000, has more than a dozen research and manufacturing facilities around the world, including the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

While North America has had recent wins in regard to attracting manufacturing back, U.S. imports of manufacturing goods from low-cost Asian countries (LCCs) actually increased in 2021, according to Kearney’s ninth-annual Reshoring Index.

Kearney’s Reshoring Index tracks trends in manufacturing returning to the U.S. from 14 LCCs and regions where sourcing, production and assembly have been offshored.

Manufacturing from LCCs totaled 14.49% of U.S. domestic gross manufacturing output, up from 12.95% in 2020, according to Chicago-based global management consulting firm Kearney.

However, Kearney officials said that “there are strong indications that attitudes and strategies are changing, thanks to the pandemic, trade wars and tariffs, and ongoing resulting supply chain disruptions.

“American companies are getting more serious about adopting expanded versions of reshoring. Large portions of offshored manufacturing may soon be returning thanks to companies combining their nearshoring production to Mexico, Central America and even Canada, with manufacturing and assembly in the U.S.,” Kearney said.

Manjra said she’s hearing from many clients that the tide may be turning, with companies looking to create a closer-to-home — rather than a lowest-cost — supply chain.

“I just think about that for the last 20 or 30 years, companies were almost rewarded for basically shipping American jobs overseas,” Manjra said. “It was quite harmful for the domestic economy because we have less skilled workers today than we ever had domestically.

“I’m really encouraged when I see manufacturers say, ‘No, we want more jobs here, we want to keep the jobs here, we want to bring back our operations to … America or to Canada.’ I think that’s super encouraging.”

Fleetmaster Express receives first Volvo VNR electric trucks in Texas

Fleetmaster Express recently received two Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks in Texas as part of the company’s plan to transition from a diesel fleet to an electric one.

The Roanoke, Virginia-based carrier said the two electric trucks will be based at the company’s terminal in Fort Worth. Eight additional Volvo VNR electric trucks are scheduled to be delivered by early 2023.

The two Volvo VNR Electrics are the first battery-electric Class 8 trucks in its fleet, and “deploying zero-tailpipe emission Volvo VNR Electrics is the next big step in our effort to create the most sustainable, energy-efficient fleet possible,” said Travis Smith, COO of Fleetmaster Express, in a statement.

Fleetmaster operates more than 300 trucks with 1,000 trailers from 13 terminals across the country. The company offers dedicated hauling, as well as freight brokerage, warehousing and spotting services.

Texas seaport announces new ro-ro service from Asia

Marine shipper Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) made its initial call at Port Freeport, Texas, on May 16 to begin a regular service.

Headquartered in Tokyo, NYK Line is a provider of roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) services, including shipping and vehicle logistics, managing the distribution of cars, trucks, rolling equipment and breakbulk cargo.

“Port Freeport’s proximity and efficiency to regional and global markets combined with room for expansion makes the port a strategic hub for vehicle imports and exports,” Phyllis Saathoff, Port Freeport’s executive director and CEO, said in a release.

NYK Lines’ Opal Leader discharged OEM vehicle units and heavy cargo at Port Freeport. The service will also call ports in Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Brazil and will call Port Freeport monthly.

Port Freeport is located about 60 miles southeast of Houston along the Gulf of Mexico.

Houston multimodal park signs 2 tenants

The Greens Port Industrial Park along the Houston Ship Channel has two new tenants: JD Fields & Co. and ZL Chemicals.

Houston-based JD Fields & Co. is a global supplier of steel products. ZL Chemicals is a Houston-based manufacturer of chemicals used in the oil and gas industry.

The 735-acre, multimodal industrial park is owned by Watco, a transportation and supply chain services company with locations throughout North America and Australia.

Steve Pastor, NAI’s vice president of global supply chain and ports/rail logistics, said operators are looking for locations that help with efficiency. Pastor was part of the team that represented Watco in the transaction.

“Over the past 18 months, logistics tasks as simple as offloading cargo from ship to shore have become increasingly time-consuming and expensive at many ports,” Pastor said in a statement. “For this reason, Greens Port Industrial Park stands out as it offers direct access to [Port Houston], one of the nation’s most important ports.”


Source: Noi Mahoney, Freight Waves.

The Texas and Mexico border is indisputably one of the most important for trade in North American, and the recent cancellation of a railway between the two stemming from political issues seems to be the least favorable economic option.

The TMEC Corridor is a project proposed by Mexico that would start in the port of Mazatlán, Sinaloa and go through various states in Mexico. It would then travel across the border into the United States and go north until reaching Canada.

Bloomberg previously confirmed that Texas would be losing a major railway project worth billions that was set to travel through Laredo due to Mexico moving the project in retaliation for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s enhanced truck inspections that led to standstills in traffic and billions of dollars lost for both countries.

One local academic shared his thoughts on the canceled plans, stating that the evidence was clear the rail line should remain through Texas, as it is the most efficient and effective thing to do for a project of this magnitude.

“I understand the political discourse going on between both parts, Texas and Mexico, but I always tell everybody let’s look at the data and for the data to show us what is going on,” said Daniel Covarrubias, Director of the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at Texas A&M International. “It is a project that I know will benefit the North American trade zone, but you have to understand that it is a project 100% financed by private investments.

“In the end, I do understand that Mexico, as a country, will be involved in permits, promoting and things like that. But I think that this project is going to be dictated by market forces and where logistic corridors are more efficient and by where logistic infrastructure is already in place.”

Covarrubias said one of the main reasons Mexico wants this corridor is to alleviate the transportation of goods from Asia to North America. At the moment, almost all of this trade goes through the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

However, Covarrubias finds it interesting Mexico is looking forward at this port when it has two others operating for such tasks including the ports of Manzanillo, Colima and the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan. He says these two compared to the one in Mazatlan have no comparison at all, as the one in Sinaloa is still in its early stages.

“If you compare Mazatlan to those ports, there is no comparison,” Covarrubias said. “Especially with what Manzanillo does as the port of Manzanillo in (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), which is what the shipping industry uses to measure ports. There is little comparison.”

According to Covarrubias, the 2021 data on the ports indicates the port of Manzanillo does about 3.2 million TEUs a year while Lazaro Cardenas does 1.6 million, Ensenada, Baja California does 394,000 and Mazatlan does about 41,000.

“Just compare the 41,000 to the 3.2 million and 1.6 million, so that tells you the size of Mazatlan,” Covarrubias said. “Now is it a good project to make Mazatlan bigger, as the TMEC Corridor proposes a new port for the port of Mazatlan? Then yes it is good, and it can make it more viable. Will it compete with Manzanillo or Lazaro Cardenas? It is going to take years.”

Covarrubias says although the project has some good points, he sees it difficult to be done from Mazatlan and then crossing somewhere else other than into Texas to reach Canada, because the data shows Texas is the best route to take.

He said the last potential framework he saw of the project was to create an industrial complex in Mazatlan, then for the railway to pass through the state of Durango, which he says would be a task taking years to make, as it would mean the train tracks crossing through the Sierra Madre Mountains. From there, the railway would go to Frontera, Coahuila, then to Nava, Coahuila and then to the border with Texas, which would be entering in the Piedras Negras-Eagle Pass area.

According to Covarrubias, the Eagle Pass area has much train traffic. This is because the Corona brewery is located in Nava, Coahuila, just a few miles from the border and they ship all of their products mainly through railway.

Covarrubias questioned whether Laredo would have ever been the ultimate location of the railway, although it had been reported that it was. Based on his observations from a February 2022 report by the group CAXXOR — an international conglomerate with the strength to drive infrastructure projects and other real assets — he suspected it could have been ultimately heading elsewhere.

“As of February, I am still thinking that they were going to pass it through Eagle Pass,” Covarrubias said.

Even if Mexico continues with its position to move the cancelled railway to New Mexico, Covarrubias says it is going to be hard because the shortest and efficient route is through the state of Texas.

Whatever the case, Covarrubias says the project entails the rehabilitation of 167 kilometers of Mexican railways and the construction of 180 new kilometers of tracks. He estimates that would take about 15 to 20 years to complete.

He says doing it in New Mexico might even require new infrastructure on the American side, which continues to support why Texas is the best option.

“The data will show where this corridor will ultimately end up,” Covarrubias said. “If you just see right now, two of the top five railroad crossings in the United States are in the Texas border. Laredo is No. 1 and Eagle Pass is No. 4. The data just shows what the Texas-Mexico border is and what it could be, so I think that our efforts should be made to do it through this border.”

He says even among the top 10, the city of El Paso is also found while Brownsville is around No. 13. New Mexico does not have a railroad ranked until the mid-20s.


Source: Jorge A. Vela, LMT Online.

The backlogs of ships at the ports, the overseas logistics delays, and the subsequent supply chain snarls of the past two years have been covered ad nauseam. But while issues at U.S. ports are beginning to stabilize, the pandemic has revealed an even bigger issue that has yet to be resolved: our overdependence on an overseas supply network and a lack of visibility into where our goods and materials are sourced. We believe the pandemic has revealed the risks of a globalized supply chain and the need to start shifting to a more regionalized sourcing model.

There’s a host of compelling reasons why business leaders must act now to start making this shift—from national security to the health and safety of medically vulnerable Americans to sustainability. It’s time to start restructuring our supply chains so that we are sourcing more from our allies and democratic countries, especially those in the Americas. Indeed, the Biden administration has set a goal of making critical sectors of the U.S. economy less dependent on China. For the U.S., this endeavor will require public-private partnerships and hundreds of billions in government investments, subsidies, incentives, and sourcing mandates. It will also require us to leverage our neighbors to the north and south and set up manufacturing and logistics capabilities across the Americas.


The pandemic woke us up to the vulnerabilities baked into our historically lean, cost-optimized supply chains. Over the past several decades, we have optimized our globalized sourcing and procurement practices around reducing labor and other input costs. The result is a system that is designed to deliver goods and commodities at the least cost. But this cost-optimized system comes with a high price: we have created fragile supply chains that are vulnerable to disruption and manipulation.

For example, early in the pandemic, we saw shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) including isolation gowns, medical-grade gloves, and masks, as well as ventilators. Between an overnight increase in demand for these items (70% of which came from the country where the pandemic originated) and just-in-time inventory management aimed at reducing stock and cost, the supply chain in the United States couldn’t keep up. This was followed by shortages of critically important drugs, including those needed for treating COVID-19 patients.

Follow-up research from Washington University in St. Louis also revealed longstanding problems with U.S. dependence on foreign manufacturers for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for essential medicines and generic drugs.1 Consider this: 97% of all active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for antiviral drugs and 92% of antibiotic APIs have no U.S. manufacturing source. The Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association blames this weakness on a “race to the bottom” mentality that drove manufacturing to low-cost manufacturing countries that provided structural advantages that the United States did not, such as greater government subsidies, lower input costs (such as a lower minimum wage), and lesser regulatory burdens.

Currently, India and China are the largest global suppliers of APIs, and this overdependence puts the U.S. in a precarious position of being vulnerable to price hikes, as well as supply chain disruptions. In 2021, for example, manufacturing delays from these countries accounted for 11% of all drug shortages in the U.S.

The pharmaceutical industry is not alone in its overdependence on overseas suppliers. Currently half of all global manufacturing is located in Asia. As a result, when U.S. consumers—many still stuck at home and flush with cash from stimulus checks—began buying electronics, vehicles, exercise gear, and other products on a scale that demand modelers couldn’t have forecasted, it resulted in severe port backlogs and delays. The more recent factory shutdowns and logistics delays caused by China’s extreme quarantine policies and its current energy crisis continue to demonstrate how vulnerable the globalized supply chain is to disruption.


Instead of the current global supply chain with an overdependence on Asian manufacturing, we believe that the United States would gain many financial and strategic benefits from a Pan-American supply network. Consider that in supply chains, speed translates into cash, and flexibility translates to resilience. A regional, “near-shored,” land-based supply chain would accelerate movement across the Americas, substantially reducing transit times. Less time spent in transit would mean less cash tied up in inventory. This equates to reduced working capital requirements and healthier balance sheets.

Creating a Pan-American supply network would require a mix of private investment and public funding and incentives. For example, governmental funding could be used to build a transportation infrastructure that linked the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. This would create a robust and resilient supply chain corridor that would allow products to flow through the two continents faster and with fewer impediments. By investing in railways, bridges, and highway infrastructure from Canada through Mexico and into Central and South America, we would have a more seamless supply chain infrastructure. Goods and critical resources could be transported by ground from low-cost locations in Central and South America to the U.S. and Canada quickly without requiring water or air transportation (two of the worst offenders when it comes to pollution).

At the same time, we could work to create a Pan-American manufacturing ecosystem. The cost of labor in Mexico and Central America rivals that of China. Additionally, countries in Central America have the population and demographics to support a large-scale manufacturing and logistics footprint (the average age across Central America is 28). Local manufacturing opportunities would be welcomed by Central American communities: They would create jobs, build wealth, reduce the pressure to migrate, and promote political stability in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. We have seen in Asia that supply chain opportunities have the power to uplift hundreds of millions out of poverty. Why not try to replicate that model in troubled countries closer to home?

Initiatives by the U.S. apparel and footwear industry, with support from the Biden Administration, are already beginning to have an impact in developing Central American supply chains. For example, U.S. manufacturer Parkdale Mills recently announced that it is building a multimillion-dollar yarn-spinning factory in Honduras. This investment will enable Parkdale’s customers to shift one million pounds per week of yarn sourcing from Asian suppliers to Honduras while also creating new jobs.

In addition to subsidizing upgrades in transport infrastructure, U.S. trade officials can facilitate this regional shift by providing technical assistance and training to U.S. original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on how to navigate Central American regulatory structures and business cultures. This might involve advising on key challenges including maintaining compliance, achieving track-and-trace visibility, clearing customs, and best practices on how to reduce risk with carriers.

Of course, a strategic reset of this magnitude will take time and come at a great expense. It would be up to the United States, along with more developed countries like Canada, Mexico, and Brazil to lead the Pan-American initiative and persuade others. But it’s likely other countries in the Americas would be willing to help share the costs given the clear economic, political, and social benefits.


We believe that we should fund and provide incentives for supply chain regionalization and diversification for critical industries first. This includes the four sectors prioritized by the Biden Administration in its 2021 report on improving supply chain resiliency: high-capacity batteries, semiconductors, critical minerals and materials, and pharmaceutical APIs. To those sectors, we would add telecommunications, energy, and food.

Pharmaceutical and health care companies are already taking on this challenge. For example, the health care improvement company Premier Inc., an alliance of hospitals and health care providers with extensive pharmaceutical supply chains and distribution networks, has worked with partners and even competitors over the last two years to increase domestic production and sourcing of PPE and APIs.2 Premier is leveraging its supply chain data to identify supplies that are most at risk and investing in those categories with “Buy-American” commitments. Masks, isolation gowns, and exam gloves are all examples of products with such commitments.

Premier recognizes that there are many reasons why the U.S. cannot aspire to become anywhere close to self-sufficient in pharmaceutical API production. For example, there is still a shortage of skilled manufacturing labor in the United States, and there are several key raw materials that region does not produce. The company argues, however, that both U.S.-based and geographically diverse manufacturing is needed to reduce overreliance on a single country or region.

A balanced approach, like the one Premier is taking, is a good first step to help keep costs in check while also helping to alleviate U.S. health care supply chain dependence on foreign nations. Still, this will not be easy nor inexpensive, and the company is urging the U.S. government to fund incentives such as zero-interest loans and tax incentives to “help close the cost gap between domestic and foreign drug manufacturing.”3

It should be noted that in some market segments and industries, it will not pay to invest in a significant re-engineering of supply chains to be more regional and less dependent on Asia. There are some cases where consumers will continue to choose less costly options over items with higher prices due to domestic or regionalized manufacturing. What’s more, China is the world’s largest economy with a vast and growing consumer market. So large global OEMs will want to maintain and, in some cases, continue growing their China-centric supply chains to serve this market as well as the rest of Asia.

Another alternative to supply chain regionalization is what is sometimes called “ally-shoring”—shifting procurement to democratic countries that are reliable U.S. allies. One model for this is how the United States cooperates with its closest allies—Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom—through the National Technology and Industrial Base (NTIB) to produce and supply defense technology.4 Another is the cooperative work between the U.S. and Canada on critical minerals production.5


How do you begin to understand where to start the journey of diversifying your supply chain? For supply chain managers, corporate leaders, and even the Biden administration, the journey to a regionalized, risk-adjusted supply chain network strategy begins with mapping your supplier network. While historically it’s been costly for companies to develop and maintain an accurate map of their supply chain, today, with the right partners, the process can be much more streamlined and efficient. Rapidly evolving technology, cloud adoption, and enterprise networks have made mapping cost effective, scalable, and rapidly achievable. What’s more, the new generation of software companies providing mapping capabilities go far beyond what could be accomplished with emails, phone calls, and spreadsheets.

Multi-tier visibility into the entire supply chain—which includes second and third tier suppliers and goes down to the part level—can help identify the most optimal supply chain design. This is because mapping provides a complete picture of the current supply chain. It can also provide visibility into any alternate sites within the network that might be available and where parts and raw materials could be sourced.

The visibility that mapping provides may show to you that it is possible to move your supply chain without having to switch suppliers. Imagine if you mapped your tier one, two, and three suppliers in China. What you’d likely find is that 30% of them have manufacturing sites outside of China.6 Instead of onboarding new suppliers, which is extremely labor and cost intensive, you’d be able to easily shift to an alternate location with minimal disruption.


We need to start approaching supply chain regionalization with a sense of urgency, as regionalization is the first step toward addressing the risks and vulnerabilities affecting our supply chains.

However, this shift to more regional supply chains will not be easy. It will take significant investment and cooperation across both private industry and the public sphere. It will also take time. It took more than 30 years for China to become the dominant manufacturer to the world. Building this kind of capacity in other countries and regions will also take decades—which is why we need to start designing the supply chain for the next 50 years, now.


1. Patricia Van Arnum, “The U.S. Manufacturing Base: Generics,” DCAT Value Chain Insights (Sept. 8, 2021):

2. Michael J. Alkire, “Three Ways Premier Members are Driving Pharmacy Innovation During COVID-19,” Premier blog (Sept. 28, 2021):

3. Ibid

4. Heidi M. Peters, “Defense Primer: The National Technology and Industrial Base,” Congressional Research Service (February 3, 2021):

5. “United States and Canada Forge Ahead on Critical Minerals Cooperation,” U.S. Department of State media note (July 31, 2021):

6. Of the tens of thousands of suppliers that Resilinc maps in China, this percentage is typical.


Source: Bindiya Vakil, CSCMP’s Supply Chain (Quarterly)

China dejó de ser el centro manufacturero para 15 empresas de origen alemán, japonés y estadounidense, las cuales invertirán los próximos dos años cerca de 400 millones de dólares en León y El Bajío de México.

Esa relocalización de la empresas obedece a la intención de cumplir con las nuevas reglas del Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC), así como ya no pagar altos precios de transporte y dejar de depender de la industria marítima.

“Hay alrededor de entre 14 y 15 proyectos en cartera de inversión (de compañías alemanas, japonesas y estadounidenses) para el municipio de Guanajuato, pero no hay uno que sea particularmente de una empresa de China”, revela Guillermo Romero Pacheco, secretario para la Reactivación Económica de León.

Las empresas alemanas y japonesas aprovechan este momento para cumplir con las nuevas reglas comerciales del T-MEC, especialmente el contenido de integración del 75%, señala el funcionario del gobierno del municipio de León.

Mazda importaba algunas piezas y autopartes de Japón, China, Singapur y otros países de Asia, pero ahora sus proveedores y otras empresas aterrizarán en México para que “tengan el acta de nacimiento regional y cumplan con el factor de integración”, dice a Forbes México.

“Están llegando algunos proveedores de Asia a instalarse a León, pero son ligados a las mismas fábricas automotrices”, comenta el ex director general de la Coordinadora de Fomento al Comercio Exterior del Estado de Guanajuato.

Los proyectos en cartera representan una inversión de entre 350 millones de dólares hasta 400 millones de dólares, los cuales serán cerrados y amarrados en los próximos dos años, dice el economista egresado del Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Según el secretario, entre los proyectos de inversión están los que apuestan a la industria automotriz y autopartes, así como servicios y ventas de mayoreo.

“No hay en este momento particularmente alguna petición o proyecto de inversión con capital chino en León”, agrega Guillermo Romero Pacheco.

Desde hace muchos años están operando empresas de origen chino o se aliaron para producir suelas, accesorios, herrajes y autopartes, añade.

En la parte automotriz en los últimos cinco años llegaron entre 2 y 3 empresas de capital chino para ser proveedores de la industria automotriz a León, apunta el funcionario.


La presencia de China en San Luis Potosí

“Tengo conocimiento de que 4 empresas chinas llegaron al Bajío en los últimos dos años, especialmente en San Luis Potosí”, señala David Novoa Toscano, presidente de la Asociación de Empresas Proveedoras Industriales de México (Apimex).

Las empresas de origen y capital chino se dedican a la producción de autopartes para las armadoras como BMW y General Motors con fuerte presencia en San Luis Potosí, dice el empresario.

Cada vez más empresas están buscando productos mexicanos, si bien un gran porcentaje de las exportaciones de México van a Estados Unidos, hoy en día las empresas quieren y están buscando más proveeduría local y hay un tema conocido como nearshoring.

Los empresarios y empresas estadounidenses quieren el producto en dos días, porque ya no les es rentable esperar hasta seis meses los contenedores importados de Asia a puertos como Long Beach en California, destaca Novoa Toscano.

“Esperar seis meses para tener producto en Estados Unidos, pues es un mundo de tiempo en uno de los países de mayor consumo de bienes y servicios a nivel mundial”.

México, Guanajuato y León tienen la capacidad para colocar producto en sólo tres días en cualquier parte de Estados Unidos, agrega el representante de los proveedores.

“El americano viene a México a buscar más proveeduría y quien le maquile, porque ya no quieren estar en Asia y las empresas con operaciones en México les llevan un mes de ventaja en el trayecto”, expuso el presidente de Apimex.

Las empresas al dejar Asia encuentran muchas ventajas por instalarse en el Bajío, especialmente ya no dependen de la industria marítima que vive una crisis por la pandemia de Covid-19, recuerda el presidente de Apimex.

En enero de 2020, cuando se daban los primeros contagios de Covid-19, el traslado de un contenedor de 40 pies desde los puertos chinos de Shanghái, Ningbo, Yantian, Xiamen, Qingdao y Hong Kong a Lázaro Cardenás costaba sólo 2 mil dólares.

Para la tercera semana de noviembre de 2021, las navieras APM-Maersk, Mediterranean Shg Co, Cosco Group, CMA CGM Group Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network y Evergreen Line cobraban 13 mil 500 dólares por traer la misma caja cargada con mercancía de China a México. En octubre de 2021, el traslado de un contenedor de 40 pies llegó  a costar más de 14 mil 265 dólares.

China tiene Alibaba, y Pinduoduo entre las cinco empresas de comercio electrónico por volumen de negocios del mundo. Estados Unidos tiene a Amazon en el segundo lugar y Canadá a Shopify.


Source: Enrique Hernandez, Forbes Mexico


Mexico’s economy appeared to limp into 2022. But factory-filled states along the U.S. border are thriving, with the country’s exports surpassing $80 billion in the first two months of the year.

Due to strong U.S. demand and a revival of the auto sector, investors are moving in and banks are getting ready to finance new projects. Exports of non-petroleum goods grew almost 27% in February compared with the year earlier. If you’re interested in cars, toys, or medical supplies, there’s probably a company ready to ship through the world’s busiest border.

Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars, announced in mid-March plans to make Mexico the site of its biggest plant in the world, a $47 million consolidation and expansion project that includes a 200,000-square-foot facility with some 3,500 workers.

Mexico’s Exports

The five Mexican states responsible for the biggest chunk of exports are all along the border. Monterrey-based Grupo Financiero BASE, which does half of its lending in the state of Nuevo Leon bordering Texas and includes among its clients everyone from orange growers to budget mobile-phone makers, expects that exports will grow another 6% in 2022.

“It’s a year of big opportunities,” Julio Escandon, BASE’s chief executive officer, said in a recent interview. “Because of the pandemic and probably the situation in Ukraine, the supply chain that comes from Asia is moving to Mexico.”

There’s a whole set of businesses that provide secondary projects, such as the makers of covers for jacuzzis or the seats of autos. Cars were scarce in part because of chip shortages that pushed up prices, but in February exports had grown by 32% from the year before, suggesting some of the worst missing-parts problems had been resolved.

Big Chunk

Battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology is considering a Mexico plant to supply Tesla, though the deal is not yet closed. A series of votes at car production plants that slotted in new union representatives also suggests that labor conditions might become fairer, under pressure from the U.S. to respect trade agreement rules.

The rest of the country has been more slothful in its recovery, with a 2% expansion expected for 2022 according to a Bloomberg survey, but Escandon’s projections for the northern states are more optimistic.

“The demand from the United States does not stop growing. There’s an expansion of plants, but the existing warehouses are not enough for this level of growth,” he said.

A Logistical Nightmare

Climbing Congestion Costs | A measure of U.S. supply-chain pressures rose to a record, adding to already stiff inflationary headwinds from logistics amid dwindling warehouse space and unprecedented inventory costs. The Logistics Managers’ Index advanced for a third straight month in March, reaching 76.2 from 75.2 in February. “Continued inventory congestion has driven inventory costs, warehousing prices, and overall aggregate logistics costs to all-time high levels,” the report stated. “This is putting even more pressure on already-constrained capacity.”

Source: Bloomberg

In 2021, Mexico was NFL season tickets, a Premier League football match, the Met Gala, and a Formula1 race, all rolled into one. The sign said ‘sold out’ and yet global firms kept arriving to the standing room-only country, hoping for admission. Owners of industrial real estate across the country found themselves in the right place at the right time. Most major markets saw historically low vacancy rates ranging from .5% to 5%, as a result of strategic perspective shifts from global players.

Despite the pandemic and rising fuel costs, Mexico was almost perfectly positioned for a record spike in demand for industrial real estate. Some markets saw 40-100% increases in leasing while a lack of inventory required many global operators to delay expansion or new entry for 6-12 months. By Q3 2021, most industrial transactions were registered as new build-to-suit construction, to lease or own. This has required longer lease terms,
averaging 7-10 years, at lease rates which escalated 10-20% during the last 18 months.

Medical, aerospace, and automotive sectors initially slowed during 2020, but rebounded by 2021, while logistics and fulfillment sharply escalated. Scores of new fulfillment operations expanded into Mexico, often leasing more than 100,000 square feet. These range from existing firms to new operators from US, Canada and Europe, as well as a large influx of Pacific Rim-based companies entering Mexico to avoid future tariffs and duties, and US firms reshoring from China.

Office and retail sectors have paralleled the US experience during the last 18 months. Construction has slowed, and land-lords are working to retain tenants and rebalance their portfolios.

The unique selling point of Mexico continues: Labor rates are a fraction of the US market, real estate values and prices are still competitive, and the ability to ship overnight to US markets greatly enhances the competitive advantage. Global industrial operators will turn the corner on 2021 and continue the same pace into 2022, as strategic planners in board rooms in Asia, Europe and the US plan further record investment, and leverage Mexico’s continued strategic advantage as a major industrial platform for all of North America.

If you want to consult the full Global Market Trends & Predictions for the Year by NAI Global, Click Here.

La selección del destino de inversión de cualquier proyecto industrial ya sea expansión, reubicación y/o consolidación, es el resultado de un análisis que muestra la suma de los factores clave para la operación de la empresa.

Al llevar a cabo cualquier transacción de bienes y raíces: un arrendamiento, una compra-venta y/o un proyecto de construcción a la medida; Existen factores generales a evaluar como la ubicación, los precios, la disponibilidad de mano de obra y la calidad de vida en cada una en las plazas que compiten por el proyecto. 

Sin embargo, es importante recalcar que cada proyecto que se gesta dentro de las organizaciones tiene una identidad singular y por tanto, necesidades únicas a cumplir para poder hacer de la nueva ubicación un centro de utilidades.

El análisis que proviene del área de operaciones es fundamental. Es necesario comprender cuál es el origen del proyecto ya sea un nuevo contrato que se ha ganado recientemente y que exige cercanía al cliente final;  la llegada de nuevas líneas de producción que generan la necesidad de espacio adicional para el almacenamiento de la nueva maquinaria y la que se va reemplazando; una nueva planta industrial derivada del crecimiento del negocio; la consolidación de diferentes puntos de producción y almacenes bajo un solo techo con la finalidad de hacer más  eficiente la operación, o bien una nueva inversión en el país con la finalidad de entrar y posicionarse en el mercado.

Cada uno de los escenarios anteriores requiere que el equipo de Brokerage  realice una profunda evaluación del mercado y de la situación actual del cliente,  que les permita a los tomadores de decisiones la elaboración de un caso de negocios que contenga la siguiente información:


  • Las diferencias existentes al operar en las distintas regiones del país una planta de producción y/o almacén, por ejemplo: la frontera vs. la región bajío o el sur.  Estas pueden ser identificadas a través de un estudio que identifique claramente los costos de producción, aspectos clave de logística para el proyecto, las tendencias del mercado de bienes raíces y los aspectos de calidad de vida en cada una de las plazas.

  • Las oportunidades y retos existentes en cada una de las plazas de acuerdo con el ciclo de mercado que atraviesan, es decir; actualmente hay algunos mercados como Tijuana en los que la disponibilidad de Tierra y la disponibilidad de inventario es escasa, mientras que la Región del Bajío experimenta la situación contraria, generando que la alta oferta ofrezca para los usuarios/inversionistas precios sumamente competitivos y la posibilidad de elegir entre edificios existentes o construir uno nuevo.

  • Otro factor decisivo son los actores clave del mercado en cada una de las plazas, tanto del lado de los bienes raíces (oferta) como del lado de operaciones (clientes potenciales, competencia, etc.) con la finalidad de identificar las estrategias y acciones que deberán implementarse para llevar a cabo el proyecto.

  • El costo total de ocupación; este puede ser determinante para la toma de decisiones, sabemos que todo buen estudio de proyecto deberá culminar con un análisis financiero que refleje de manera clara además del monto total de inversión, el costo que representará para el usuario/inversionista la apertura y/o reubicación de su nuevo centro de operaciones, almacenaje y/o distribución.

Toda la información obtenida de los puntos mencionados no debe ser tomada de manera aislada, sino que deberá integrar un análisis profundo que alineado a los planes de la compañía dará como resultado un escenario óptimo para la evaluar y determinar el mercado de mi nuevo proyecto industrial.


Si actualmente tu compañía está evaluando algún proyecto de expansión, reubicación y/o consolidación @Fernanda Martínez y @Luis Miguel Torres pueden ayudarte a realizar tu evaluación a través de un análisis de selección y sitio.