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Avant plans logistics system to import refined products into Mexico

Reynosa, Mexico — Avant Energy is planning to build a logistics system that will supplyrefined products to Mexico's Bajio region via rail from the Port of Altamirain the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the company said Wednesday.

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The network will be known as Supera and it will be built along withstrategic partners Savage Services and Kansas City Southern (KCS), Avant saidin a statement.

Avant was not immediately available for comment. The company already hasall the port facilities and regulatory permits required for construction.

The system will be anchored by a 1.2-million-barrel marine importterminal at the port of Altamira, which will be able to unload Panamaxvessels.

Products will be moved using unit trains operated by KCS to the Bajioregion, which includes the states of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Jalisco andQueretaro, a growing manufacturing region.

In Queretaro, product will be unloaded at a Savage 450,000-barrel unittrain terminal. Construction of both facilities is expected to begin in thethird quarter of 2018 and commercial operations to start before the end of2019.

The system could also potentially move product to other KCS terminals,Avant said. KCS also has fuel terminals in the cities of San Luis Potosi andMonterrey.

Luis Farias, CEO of Avant Energy, said in the statement that thelogistics systems will provide "superior logistics solutions to connect thehigh growth Bajio region with the US Gulf Coast, the largest and mostefficient market in the world for refined products."

He added that Mexico's energy reform has allowed new players such asAvant to participate in Mexico's opening fuel markets and increase efficiencyin the supply system to ultimately benefit the consumer.

"This network will open the door to more efficient supply andtransportation of refined petroleum products from US refiners into Mexico'sNorth-Central region, where it is needed," said Kirk Aubry, Savage's CEO, inthe statement.

A lack of infrastructure has been a barrier for new companies enteringthe market to compete against state-owned Mexican oil company Pemex. So far,ExxonMobil and Andeavor are the only other two companies importing gasoline inMexico as marketers.

Mexico is the fourth largest gasoline market in the world, according tothe country's Energy Secretariat.

Avant's facility in the port of Altamira will join private marineterminals being developed by Glencore in Dos Bocas, Tabasco; Grupo Lodemo inPuerto Progreso, Yucatan; IEnova and Valero in Veracruz; and Vopak and Koch inVeracruz, which is already operational. --Daniel Rodriguez, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com