The occupancy of industrial parks in Mexico is closely related to the dynamics of the United States economy. During 2009, the economy of our northern neighbor practically recorded no growth whatsoever, and the unemployment reached a rate of 10%. This situation was reflected in a 37.3% decrease of direct foreign investment’s flow to Mexico for the January-September period, with respect to the same period for the prior year. What to expect from 2010?
According to Alberto Chretin, President of AMPIP, during 2009 industrial parks in Mexico recorded an average level of occupancy between 80 and 84%, which represents a low rate since, generally, a healthy average for the industry is between 92 and 93%. Notwithstanding the foregoing, for 2010 we estimate a better outcome due to the increase, during the last 3 months, in traffic for new investment projects which are looking for places to open new operations in the country or else, to reactivate projects which were halted as a result of the economic crisis. Another good symptom is the 25%growth perspective for traffic of import containers into the United States with respect to 2009, according to the National Retail Sales Federation of such country.
This optimism, however, does not imply that there will be new industrial projects for 2010, due to the increasing availability of industrial spaces in the inventory. Therefore, the development of new projects depends on the acceleration of the economy. The foregoing shall be reflected in the increase of confidence of both the consumers and investors, among other factors, as well as in better cash positions from the last ones, which, according to the experts, will begin to be noticed not before 2011.
Before this panorama, the industrial park developers shall be more creative in promoting their businesses, which implies being aware of new market demands. One of the new trends with respect to lessees’ requirements is the implementation of sustainability policies in industrial parks. Furthermore, the owners of industrial facilities have reinforced the demand towards their clients to comply with environmental laws, since this allows to better protect the value of their assets in the long term.
Due to the foregoing, in November 2008, the AMPIP executed a collaboration agreement with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa), in order to commence the strategy named “Clean Parks Certification”, as part of the National Program of Environmental Audit created in 1992 to support companies of different sectors to comply in an easier manner with all the environmental and industrial safety laws. The novelty in this joint strategy with AMPIP, is that the companies in the industrial parks will be taken into consideration together with the industrial parks, for all of these, as an integral system, to comply with the laws.
One of the first industrial parks involved in environmental themes was the Parque Industrial Queretaro (PIQ), which has been twice recognized with the Environmental Quality Certificate by Profepa. Its Manager, Abel Baca, comments that “it is very important to grant credibility to investors, through a report issued by the authorities with respect to internal policies related to the extreme care of the environment.” Some of the actions which are carried out by PIQ in this matter are the treatment of all residual waters generated within the Park, the annual sowing of three hundred trees in the Park and its surroundings; the permanent maintenance and cleaning of avenues, lots without construction and sewerage of the Park, among others.
On the other hand, Luis Tapia, from the Logistic Park in San Luis Potosi affirms that “the Environmental Compliance Certification allows us to prove that the development and operation of our facilities are carried out pursuant to the best practices of ecological balance, sustainability of natural resources and searching to positively impact the environment.”
The certificates issued by Profepa are equivalent to other international standards such as the High Environmental Quality issued in France, or the LEED Certificate (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) issued by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Since more than 50% of the lessees within the industrial parks in Mexico are American, the LEED Certificate is the most demanded certificate in the market. That is why global players with a presence in Mexico, such as Hines, have already initiated real estate projects under LEED standards, such as the Ecologistics Building I in San Luis Potosi, as the first one in its category.
In this sense, Ricardo Serrano, Marketing Manager of Hines, comments that, in addition to the real estate properties, the company has also implemented “green” policies within the same company, as a part of a strategy to develop an awareness among the employees on the importance of taking care of the environment.
For all these reasons, one of the most important purposes of AMPIP for 2010 is to strengthen the promotion of environment care and sustainability in industrial parks, as an innovative manner to strengthen competitiveness in the industrial real estate sector.