THE PORT OF ARIZONA
Arizona has a historic opportunity to become a major center for international trade and investment – one that rivals the Port of Los Angeles.
- The Western United States has only 4 major ports with natural deepwater harbors and the necessary intermodal infrastructure, rail and interstate highways: Seattle to the extreme north, San Francisco to the middle, and Los Angeles and San Diego serving the south.
- All of these ports serve the lucrative and growing shipping business from China, Japan, Korea and other countries of the Asian rim.
- The two southernmost major US ports of Los Angeles (San Pedro) and San Diego have already reached, or will soon reach, the limits of their capacities and there is no room for expansion.
- This has caused the Mexican government to look seriously into building a major sea port to take advantage of Asia trade. But such a sea port cannot be just anywhere on the west coast --- it must be far enough north that it also provides efficient access to the wealthy US market.
- There are no railroads or major highways or other significant infrastructure in Baja California which would facilitate such a port being built there.
- The intermodal traffic and border security in California is already overloaded, and there is no room to expand.
Thus, Mexico and the major international trade firms will soon realize that such a port will be either in Sonora or in the northern part of the next state south, Sinaloa. The most probable location is the existing Sonoran port of Guaymas, just 120 miles from Arizona’s border. Initially adequate highway and rail lines do exist direct to Arizona (although they will need to be supplemented by the Mexican government as commerce grows-- a good problem).
This would make Arizona the closest and most obvious point of access to the mammoth American economy.
- Infrastructure Tucson and Phoenix are located on Interstate 10 and nearby I-40, which crosses Flagstaff. These are two of America’s five trucking corridors that span the nation from west coast to east coast. Further, both are located on the major southern east-west railroad routes that can carry goods coast to coast cheaply and efficiently. Both offer major airports, free trade zones and warehousing at their airports. Particularly important are the intermodal transportation facilities which provide shipping points giving immediate and efficient access to all of these means of transportation.
- Size Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the US and therefore offers a large immediate market.
- Business Capabilities Tucson, Phoenix, Nogales and Yuma sport existing sophisticated legal and financial capabilities to support international traders and investors.
- Scholarship Tucson offers the knowledge and expertise of the University of Arizona affiliated National Law Center, which is a think tank and activity center for reforming commercial trade and investment laws throughout the western hemisphere to assure commercially friendly, efficient, and synergistic, laws and regulations throughout the area so as to encourage freer and more efficient trade and investment across borders. It also offers the expertise and internationally diverse student body of the Law College at the University of Arizona’s renowned program in International Trade and Investment law. Phoenix offers the famous Thunderbird school of International Business Management, which educates and graduates post graduates with MBA’s in international trade and investment. All of these assets are immediately available to Sonoran and western Mexico in general, to allow immediate and easy access to the entire North American market.
Mexico as the ‘pier’, Arizona as the ‘docks.’
Therefore, if this port is built anywhere in Sonora or Sinaloa, Arizona has an opportunity to share greatly in the benefits. Mexico will need to take advantage of the proximity and infrastructural advantages which Arizona offers. Mexico will build the port and piers for shipping, but, in fact, Arizona will be the principal warehousing and shipping point accessing the US market. Mexico has no more efficient way to access that market other than by using Arizona’s access to transcontinental highways, railroads, airports, and its free trade zones and warehouse for storage pending transit. Simply stated, the new Mexico port will be the pier, but Arizona will provide the warehousing and transportation facilities that any great port needs. If it takes advantage of this opportunity, Arizona will become a critically important and large part of a major international sea port serving shipping from all parts of Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. “The Port of Arizona” will become a major center of international trade, providing monumental benefits of increased investment capital here as well as new jobs related to international trade. International trade would stimulate Arizona’s economy in a long lasting manner.
Make it Happen
Arizona leaders must begin now to encourage the Mexican government to build the sea port and enhanced infrastructure on Mexico’s northern west coast – instead of investing in rail and intermodal infrastructure in Baja California. In so doing, Arizona must present itself as an enthusiastic partner in providing the infrastructure and ability on the American side to make the Mexican port successful. If Arizona does that, both Mexico and Arizona will create a port which rivals the Ports of Los Angeles, generating prosperity, jobs and new investment on each side of the border. As an added benefit, as Mexico enjoys prosperity alongside Arizona, fewer Mexicans will feel the need to immigrate to America.
Imagine…. The Port of Arizona.