Finished vehicle handling ports in Mexico have seen volume increases across the board in 2023, with three of them now in the top five vehicle-handling ports in the wider North American market.


Lázaro Cárdenas is a gateway for Chinese imports to Mexico 

Veracruz, which is North America’s top vehicle-handling port by volume, saw a 9% increase in 2023 with more than 933,000 units processed. Lázaro Cárdenas registered a similar increase in volumes but it was the port of Altamira that saw the biggest gain, up 33% to 456,000 units, ranking it third in Mexico and fifth in North America. The port Mazatlán also saw a big percentage increase in 2023, though overall volume was behind the top three ports at 166,000 vehicles.

While GM, Nissan and VW are the top three carmakers in Mexico, exporting around 80% of their vehicles, import volume increases are  fed by vollumes from China, which have grown significantly in recent years. Mexico is one of China’s top four export markets, second only to Russia and Chinese brands are on average 20-30% cheaper that their rivals. Chinese vehicles represent around 20% of the market and sales have grown around 300% over the last few years. Many of those imports come through the port of Lázaro Cárdenas and external vehicle storage yards have grown around the port to cope with the increase in imported vehicles. Mazatlán port, which is also on the Pacific coast, has been acting as an overflow port for volumes originally destined for Lázaro Cárdenas.

At last year’s Automotive Logistics and Supply Chain Mexico conference Isidoro Massri, manager of JAC Motors’s Mexican subsidiary, JAC México, said the Chinese carmaker is planning to be a core part of Mexico’s EV supply chain for the next 100 years.