Europe’s largest shipbuilder, Fincantieri SpA, has signed an agreement with the state government of Yucatán to construct the largest shipbuilding and maintenance centre in Mexico and Latin America in Puerto Progreso.
The project is notable not just for its size but also for the exemplary role the state government has played, so far. Of course, most media outlets do not cover all the manoeuvring behind the scenes that has been critical to the project reaching this point, so we will.
The government of Yucatán has worked very hard to maintain a cordial relationship with the federal government. The 40-year old state governor, Mauricio Vila Dosal, from the conservative National Action Party (PAN) is one of the few opposition governors who seems to know how to work with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
In preparation for this project, Yucatán officials laid the ground-work by convincing the federal government of the need to enlarge the Puerto Progreso for a greater draft. Importantly, this allowed AMLO himself to announce the project.
Then, it was arranged for Fincantieri to meet the Presidency in the Palacio Nacional – Yucatán had already stressed the importance of having all authorities aligned with a common objective: providing Fincantieri with the certainty needed for investment.
A maritime businessman in Progreso told us, “Fincantieri have positioned themselves well. They have left the initial works to the state and focused on where they add most value: knowledge, experience and technology.” This has mitigated exposure to any unnecessary counter-party risk, corruption risks, payment risks or delays in the early stages of the project.
“Fincantieri have positioned themselves well. They have left the initial works to the state and focused on where they add most value: knowledge, experience and technology.”
Maritime businessman, Progreso
It is this careful and considered approach to projects that has highlighted Vila as one of the few state governors that can offer security to investment. Vila’s abilities have not gone unnoticed with some even tipping him for a run at President in 2024. This seems unlikely at present, but if Vila was to run in direct opposition to AMLO, it could pose a risk to this project.
“[Progreso] has grown quickly and managed to attract investment and development without generating social conflict.”
Yucatán state official
Yucatán looks set to continue outperforming the rest of the country, a state official commented, “A few years ago Progreso was a rather small fishing city, it has grown quickly and managed to attract investment and development without generating social conflict. This is one of the guarantees that can be given to Fincantieri, the community will welcome them.”