The MV Mary Nour, still stranded in the port of Altamira, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast for close on four months and awaiting a further court ruling is – despite its inability to discharge its 27,000t of cement – still having some effect on the local market. Both wholesale and retail prices have reportedly dropped appreciably in what might be described as a pre-emptive move by local producers to influence local buyers, should the ship finally get clearance to discharge and local importer, CDM, begin a much-delayed sales push into the Tampico-Madero-Altamira region, possibly with a view to selling as far as Mexico City and also Monterey to the north, with its Russian-sourced cement.
However other factors might also be playing a part, including a slight downturn in the local construction sector and a more aggressive sales approach taken by newcomers to the proposed CDM market zone, especially by producers Moctezuma and Cruz Azul who only began to target this region following the arrival of the Mary Nour back in July.
CDM’s commercial management claim to have conducted its own surveys with potential buyers in their proposed market and insist that retail prices have dropped quite appreciably since July. Retail prices have come down from US$169/t to US$156/t in the last four months, with Cruz Azul and Moctezuma cement even available at a low US$150/t at the retail end of the market. Cruz Azul reportedly started its operation in the Tampico area in mid-August, setting up a new distributor and a new warehouse to sell to the general public and offering its product initially about US$14/t lower than the prevailing price in the area.