Mexico's rail lines blocked by protesters crude, freight rail delayed in 2020
Mexico News Daily
Students block the tracks in Michoacán.
By Abby Caplan/Argus
Petroleumworld 09 22 2020
Railroad lines in Mexico have been blocked by protesters during more than one-third of the year so far, delaying shipments of crude and metals crossing to and from the US, Kansas City Southern de Mexico president Oscar Del Cueto said today.
This is the worst year for railroads in the last four years because of the protests , he said, which have also been slowed earlier this year because of measures to control Covid-19.
"We are working closely with the authorities to solve this issue as soon as possible," Del Cueto said.
Because the protests are unrelated to railroad activities, KCSM and other carriers are waiting for federal authorities to resolve the protests. Negotiations have ended some earlier protests but others have sprung up throughout the year.
There have been 99 days this year when protests in different parts of Mexico have blocked freight rail operations, up by 92pc compared with 2019, Del Cueto said. The blockades are impacting import industries like crude and energy products, steel and grain.
Blockades successfully stop trains because there are very few alternative rail lines that can be used, unlike in the US, Del Cueto said. US-Mexico cross-border freight has been the most affected at KCSM, he said, as have shipments to and from the port of Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific coast.
Western US railroad BNSF said a blockage is affecting cross-border trains scheduled for its El Paso, Texas, gateway. The railroad is in close communication with Mexican carrier Ferromex about the situation. BNSF is still able to move shipments north of the blockade while trains headed south are being rerouted to Eagle Pass, Texas.
Teachers and student teachers protesting pay and job security have blocked KCSM lines in Michoacan for 25 days since August, preventing trains from reaching Lazaro Cardenas. Farmers protesting water rights are blocking the lines of Mexican carrier Ferromex in the state of Chihuahua.
"They are just acting in this way because they want to get attention from the authorities," he said.
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