AudioDuncan Wood discusses a game changer for Mexico that can also help the Port of Brownsville

The vice president of the Wilson Center extols the virtues of the President López Obrador’s Transoceanic Corridor project.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – In three recent speeches in the Rio Grande Valley, the vice president for strategy and new initiatives at the Wilson Center talked about a potential game changer for Mexico that would also positively impact the Port of Brownsville.

Duncan Wood is also a senior advisor to the Mexico Institute. On July 27, he spoke at a luncheon held at Texas Southmost College that was hosted by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation. On July 28, he spoke at a breakfast held at the McAllen Country Club that was hosted by the CEO Club. And, later that same day, Wood gave the keynote address at the MXLAN Festival’s International Economic Summit.

In each of the speeches Wood referenced the Transoceanic road and rail corridor Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is building in southern Mexico. He said the project has the full support of the private sector.

“Before I move on, a quick word about the Port of Brownsville and the LNG (liquefied natural gas) project. It made me think. I always think of Texas ports as being headed for Europe. That is what they are, traditionally. Now they can get to Asia but to get to Asia they have to go down through the Panama Canal,” Wood said, at the GBIC event.

“One of the few major policy initiatives from the Mexican government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with which I agree, is actually the Transoceanic Corridor, in the narrowest part of Mexico, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. For many years, in fact going back to the times of Porfirio Díaz, it has been speculated that (you could) either dig a canal or your could make a rail or road link. The government now is finally doing that.”

Wood continued: “And the fascinating thing about this is that, yes, you could take goods from South Texas by boat down to Coatzacoalcos, take them across the rail link onto ships at Salina Cruz and get them to Asia in a relatively short time, quicker than going through the Panama Canal which, by the way, is experiencing all kinds of problems anyway, because of low water levels at this point in time.”

But that is not the only benefit, Wood said.

“Imagine now if you built a pipeline across there as well. So perhaps you could bring down LNG, you could re-gasify it on one side, pump it through the pipeline, re-liquefy it at Salina Cruz and take it to Asia. Take advantage of much higher gas prices in Asia. 

“And then you think about what the government is actually thinking about doing down there, which is building out manufacturing capacity on either side of that rail and road link of Isthmus of Tehuantepec. All of a sudden you have a new border with the United States, which is right there in southern Mexico.”

Wood said this project fulfils a top priority of the López Obrador administration – improving the economy of southern Mexico.

“But it also creates new possibilities for Texas companies to work with Mexican companies down there to be part of that integrated manufacturing platform for export to Asia. That’s a very, very, juicy prospect. There’s a lot of work to do. But the idea is fundamentally sound.”

Editor’s Note: Here is an audio recording of everything Wood said about the Transoceanic Corridor at his one speech in Brownsville and his two speeches in McAllen:

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