Volkswagen Group and its subsidiary brands VW and Audi have recently begun shipping vehicles manufactured in Mexico from the port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico to California and the United States. This port, located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, is now sending cars directly from Mexico to California for transport and sale throughout the rest of the United States.

This change in shipping method represents a dramatic shift for both VW and Audi, who primarily used rail transport to ship vehicles from Mexico to the United States in the past. However, a1autotransport.com and other experts in auto shipping and logistics see this move as a way to reduce the reliance on overland rail transport.

 Rail Transport From Mexico To The US Has Had Capacity Issues For Years

It’s widely believed that the shift from using train transport to ocean-going freight from the port of Lázaro Cárdenas has been spurred by the difficulties that Audi and VW have encountered using rail transport throughout the past several years.

According to a US International Trade Administration report, railway transport moves 7 out of 10 cars manufactured in Mexico – while in the 2000s, it was used only to move 3 out of 10 cars built in the country. This dramatic surge in demand has been accompanied by widespread improvements in Mexican rail infrastructure – but capacity problems are still an issue for many vehicle manufacturers.

In 2016, Audi mentioned that it was considering using Lázaro Cárdenas for shipping to the United States to reduce risks of vandalism and damage to cars, and to add more flexibility to its supply chain.

More recently, rail blockades by indigenous people in Mexico have caused major delays in some shipping routes, which may have spurred Audi and VW to explore alternatives for shipping cars to the United States.

The Port Of Lázaro Cárdenas Is Ideally Situated For Audi & VW Vehicles

This may be the first time that Audi and VW have begun sending vehicles made in Mexico from Lázaro Cárdenas to California and the United States, but it’s not the first time that Volkswagen Group has made use of this Pacific port.

In the past, Audi has used this port to ship vehicles that were built for Asian markets like China, including the Audi Q5. Its plant in San José Chiapa manufactures more than 150,000 of these vehicles per year, primarily for global export.

VW has not used this port to ship vehicles before, but it has made use of the Acapulco port to ship completed vehicles to Asian markets – despite limitations such as 3,500 vehicle parking spaces and no rail connection.

Now, though, both Audi and VW are making use of Lázaro Cárdenas, which has generous capacity for parked vehicles as well as a rail link, which is still being used to ship vehicles from the factory to the port for further shipping.

In addition to this, the port is relatively close to the Audi Q5 plant in San José Chiapa, and the Volkswagen plant in Puebla. Volkswagen is the single largest employer in the city, with more than 16,000 jobs at this plant alone, and it’s the third-largest producer of cars in Mexico behind only Nissan and General Motors.

 Car Shipments From Lázaro Cárdenas Will Ensure Supply Chain Flexibility In The Future

Lázaro Cárdenas is anticipated to be a key port city in the future development of Mexico, and has already received major upgrades in the past several decades. It handled 1.24 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2012, and is expanding to move up to 2.2 million TEU each year.

In addition to this, highway and rail infrastructure near the port have been upgraded to ensure a steady flow of goods to and from the port. It seems that VW and Audi are taking advantage of this to develop a new method of exporting vehicles for US sale, and ensuring more flexibility in their supply and fulfillment chain.

It remains to be seen how this move will work out, but more flexibility is always a good thing – and if VW and Audi can move cars quickly and efficiently to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas and into California, they’re sure to benefit from shorter turnaround times and a more flexible, versatile supply chain that will only get better as the port of Lázaro Cárdenas continues to grow in importance and cargo capacity.