On our final day in Mexico City our trade team met with the Mexican Bakers Association, or Canainpa, as well as the leadership of APPAMEX, the Mexican Grain Traders Association and took a tour of the CONTRI railcar unloading facility on the outskirts of Mexico City.
The Mexican Bakers Association is mostly concerned with consumption of wheat products in the country. Wheat in Mexico has to contend with cultural traditions of corn tortilla consumption. Also, many doctors in Mexico, according to the bakers, recommend people cut their consumption of wheat breads when attempting to diet. And, with the high cost of wheat and flour, smaller mills have to be careful not to price their products out of the range of the poor in Mexico.
Our final stop of the tour was to the CONTRI facility, where we learned about the rail car shuttles that travel from the U.S. to Mexico for unloading. The CONTRI facility is family owned and can move about 120,000 metric tons at one facility, or unload a shuttle in 19 hours. CONTRI handles wheat, corn, sorghum and some soybean meal, from the United States. Their main market for the wheat they bring in from Kansas, Oklahoma and the rest of the High Plains is their own flour mills. They also serve as a rail unloading facility for larger companies looking to move wheat into Mexico via rail.
Following our tour of the facility, the gentlemen of CONTRI treated us to a traditional Mexican meal, before we departed for the States.
One lesson's for sure. Those in the Mexican wheat industry are passionate about their business and it's that passion that will ensure that U.S. wheat will continue to have a strong presence in Mexico for years to come.