KCS Improving South-of-the Border Automotive Network

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Kansas City Southern has entered into a joint venture with Suministros Industriales Potosinos SA de CV (SIPSA) and TransDevelopment Group (TDG) to develop the Central Bajío Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC), described as “a state-of-the-art origin and destination terminal for the shipment of finished vehicles.”

Strategically located on the KCSM (Kansas City Southern de México) main line, and developed, owned and operated by SIPSA and TDG, the VDC “will serve the rapidly-growing Bajío region and strong Mexico City area demand,” KCS said. “It is master-planned for growth with future capacity for up to 10,000 vehicles, unit train service and direct truck access to Mexico City, Guadalajara and the Bajío Region.”

The VDC will be located 40 kilometers west of Querétaro, Mexico’s fastest growing city, along the KCSM main line between Monterrey and Lázaro Cárdenas. It will be constructed adjacent to SIPSA’s existing Transload and Cross Dock Terminal, “the highest-capacity terminal of its kind on the KCS network. The surrounding area is the largest center of automobile manufacturing in Mexico.” 

The existing 125-acre transload operation features 24/7 staffed security and concrete walls; up to 57 acres is available for finished vehicles. VDC’s initial phase will have asphalt storage areas, high mast lighting, CCTV, 1,000 vehicle bays and a 36-railcar capacity. When fully built out, it will have up to 6,500 vehicle bays and a 134-railcar capacity, with 60 unloading positions

“Development of the Central Bajío VDC adds velocity, capacity and markets,” said KCS Vice President Automotive and Intermodal Rodrigo Flores. “One goal is to speed the turnaround for multi-level railcars making a round-trip between the U.S. and Mexico, improving the availability of railcars in the region. Unloading rail cars in the Bajío, near many of the assembly plants where empty rail cars are needed, adds capacity and reduces congestion.”

“This VDC also improves access to and from some of the most important markets in Mexico, including Guadalajara, Leon, Querétaro and San Luis Potosí. In conjunction with terminals in Toluca and Monterrey, KCS connects a robust automotive terminal network,” added Flores. “It’s the perfect destination for inland port moves of imported automobiles into Mexico, and KCSM’s new connection to the Veracruz Port makes this opportunity even bigger.”

“We see strong potential in the Bajío for finished vehicles,” said SIPSA Managing Director Xavier Zermeño. “At our existing facility in Comonfort, we handle inbound parts for assembly plants through our cross docks and general cargo tracks, which are also available to accommodate finished vehicles during construction of the Central Bajío VDC. This terminal is a natural location to increase our capabilities to include finished vehicles, right in the heart of automobile production in Mexico.”

“TransDevelopment has been developing finished vehicle facilities in Mexico for almost 30 years, and we’ve always been on the lookout for an automotive terminal site that checks all the boxes—both from the network and market side, and also the development feasibility and local partner perspective,” says TDG Senior Development Manager Alex MacGregor. “When we started working on the Central Bajío VDC initiative, we realized that this was the perfect opportunity.”

Founded in 1997, Suministros Industriales Potosinos, SA de CV (SIPSA) is a major logistics terminal operator in the Bajío region. Headquartered in San Luis Potosí, SIPSA operates dry bulk, liquid bulk and cross dock facilities in SLP, Celaya and Toluca. Its newest facility, in Comonfort, State of Guanajuato, has the ability to accommodate more than 550 railcars on 15 operating tracks.

Atlanta-based TransDevelopment Group (TDG) is a developer of specialized transportation facilities. TDG has been designing and developing finished vehicle terminals for almost 35 years, and counts among its clients many of the largest automakers, shipping lines, port authorities, Class I railroads, and terminal operators throughout North America. In 1993, TDG established Transdevelopment México SA de CV, headquartered in Mexico City, which has developed finished vehicle terminals in Mexico for Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Audi, and Toyota.

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