Veracruz is the largest auto port in Mexico, processing nearly 60 percent of its imports and exports. Last year, more than 1 million vehicles crossed its docks. But limited land for storage and few berths often create delays. Logistics professionals say vessels can spend days outside the harbor waiting to dock.
Grupo CSI, an automotive logistics specialist, is building the first multistory parking garage at a North American port to add capacity within the constrained footprint. Several European ports have garages.
The $50 million, six-story deck, scheduled for completion in November 2019, will be able to hold 10,000 vehicles and improve efficiency, according to a spokeswoman and material on the company's website. It will have wash bays and stations for wrap-guard application, battery maintenance, underbody protection and accessory installation.
So far, U.S. ports and logistics companies have been able to accommodate rising auto volumes without parking garages, which are much more expensive than paving a lot.
"Unless the manufacturers are willing to work with us on that cost, it's extremely hard to justify a parking garage, until the point, of course, where you run out of space," said John Felitto, senior vice president at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions.
But the logistics company is considering vertical storage as a future option, he added.
Last year, Höegh Autoliners subsidiary Horizon Terminal Services entered the Mexican market. A new facility built a few miles from the port is capable of handling 300,000 to 400,000 vehicles, which could help alleviate the congestion.