MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president on Tuesday said he would try to revoke a “100-year” concession for the major port of Veracruz, which he said was “privatized” by one of his predecessors.
Speaking at his daily news conference, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declined to name the concessionary of the port in the Gulf of Mexico, but questioned how it was possible that a company had secured such a long hold on the rights.
“Obviously, we need to see about getting this concession revoked,” he said.
A document later posted on Twitter by Lopez Obrador showed the concession was held by API Veracruz, the port administrator created in 1993 by former president Carlos Salinas.
Hutchison Ports ICAVE, part of CK Hutchison Holdings <0001.HK>, which recently helped build a new terminal alongside API Veracruz, handles container operations at the port.
Other companies also do loading and other operations at the port, one of Mexico’s most important cargo hubs.
In the tweet, Lopez Obrador said Salinas “privatized” the port, although API Veracruz is a state-run company under the federal government, according to official public records.
Lopez Obrador has repeatedly suggested previous governments he regards as corrupt were too generous in handing out contracts to private investors.
An official at API Veracruz, who declined to give their name, also said it was a federal government entity.
In response to a query from Reuters, the president’s office said part of the port was in the hands of private groups with very long concessions. The office did not provide more details.
Hutchison Ports ICAVE did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dave Graham, Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Pullin)