Mexican rail freight landscape

Theft plaguing rail freight on Caribbean coast of Mexico

An increase of theft cases is plaguing rail freight in Mexico, especially on the line between the Port of Veracruz, on the Caribbean coast and Mexico City. This service is operated by Ferromex, which suffered several sabotages on this section in the last three weeks.

Thefts and sabotage are common on Mexican railways. Last year alone 1,752 cases were reported, according to Mexican government data. However, in the last few weeks the number of cases went through the roof, parent company Grupo México said. In response, 380 thousand tonnes of goods were stalled in the Port of Veracruz last month.

Out of stock

Mexican companies are starting to suffer serious out-of-stock problems due to the lack of rail freight services. The stalled cargo includes primarily wheat transported between the states of Veracruz and Puebla. The rail company and local authorities have said to increase the number of armed personnel on trains. Moreover, they are going to use drones with video cameras to improve safety of train and staff onboard, especially in the area of Acultzingo, where most violent encounters takes place.

The railway network between Veracruz and Mexico City has become an infrastructure controlled by drug dealer gangs, which have shifted their focus from small theft, bribes and smuggling to sabotage of trains and railways. The government has faced difficulty tackling the problem because there is not one group behind the crime.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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