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Mexico Changes Transloading Rules

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Mexico’s customs agency has banned the transloading of imported fuel at sites not designated as standard customs points.

Under Mexican customs law, imports are allowed come through one of 49 government authorized customs points, although permits may be requested to import through other sites, known as a lugar distinto al autorizado (LDA).

The new rules affect only LDAs. Imported refined and blended products cannot be put directly into tank trucks or tankers, but must go through pipelines or storage, when at an LDA.

Transloading has become common in Mexico, particularly at inland sites, where tanks were still under construction. Mexico has only limited numbers of fuel pipelines, most owned by state oil company Pemex. One lawyer, Diego Campa, said that the new ruling will affect all companies that have not contracted fuel storage.

The Mexican government has recently introduced a number of restrictions on private-sector fuel importers aimed at preventing imports without the participation of Pemex or CFE, another state company.

With the Mexican government having previously attempted to increase competition for the two state energy companies, the current administration is introducing reforms to protect them. Eduardo Lopez, an independent oil market economist in Mexico City, recently looked at the implications of the reforms.

In addition, it was reported that in November 2021 Mexico’s energy regulatory commission has closed a 690,000 bbl fuel storage terminal in Salinas Victoria, Nuevo Leon, that serves ExxonMobil and other brands, and a transloading terminal in Nuevo Leon used by Valero, apparently because it was using rail cars as storage units. It also closed a 650,000 bbl storage terminal in Puebla and Monterra Energy’s 2.2 million bbl fuel storage terminal near Tuxpan.

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