Vulcan, Cemex at odds over Mexican port

By |  March 22, 2023

Logos: Vulcan Materials, Cemex

Port facilities in Mexico are at the center of a dispute between Vulcan Materials Co. and Cemex, with both companies issuing written statements about activities that began last week.

According to Vulcan, Cemex employees forcibly entered Vulcan’s port facilities near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, along with armed Mexican police and military on March 14. In a March 21 statement, Vulcan says the group was still occupying the property.

“There is no contract permitting Cemex’s use of Vulcan’s port facilities,” Vulcan says in a written statement. “Although the companies had an agreement for Cemex to lease a portion of Vulcan’s property, that agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2022, without any renewal. Prior to the expiration, Cemex was formally made aware that negotiation of a new contract would be necessary. Vulcan has been and remains open to renegotiating the lease agreement.”

In a written statement from March 20, Cemex says it has an existing contractual relationship with Calica, a Mexican subsidiary of Vulcan, for the use of a marine terminal in Playa del Carmen. The agreement began more than 20 years ago, Cemex says, and it has used the terminal continuously to transport cement products.

Cemex says it had difficulty accessing the terminal and facilities where its assets and products have been since late last year.

“After months of negotiations and failure to reach agreement with Calica, Cemex filed a lawsuit before a local civil court, which granted injunctive relief granting Cemex access to the terminal and allowing Cemex to continue its operations while the legal proceeding is pending,” Cemex says in a written statement.

“Calica disregarded the injunctive order by the judge allowing Cemex to access the facility,” Cemex continues. “As a result, Cemex sought and obtained further relief from Calica’s contempt of a court order. As part of the proceedings, the Quintana Roo State Prosecutor’s Office granted Cemex injunctive relief and a legal warrant to access the property and continue operating. In both cases, all parties were officially notified of the injunctive relief and warrant.

“In light of these rulings and the applicable law, on March 14, the competent authorities enforced the relief and warrant to allow Cemex to reenter the property and reestablish its operations at the terminal,” Cemex adds.

Vulcan, however, describes the scene that unfolded that day differently.

“Rather than looking for a mutually agreeable solution, Cemex officers threatened to seek the aid of the Mexican government, including its armed forces, to use Vulcan’s port facilities,” Vulcan says in a statement.

According to Vulcan, Cemex, the military and the police had not presented a court order, warrant or other legal justification for the entry and occupation as of Vulcan’s written statement March 21.

“Contrary to Cemex’s position, a Mexican federal court ordered Cemex to vacate the property, and another Mexican federal court order requires military and police forces to leave the property immediately,” Vulcan says in a statement.

“The Mexican government continues its illegal shutdown of Vulcan’s quarrying, processing and shipping operations,” Vulcan continues. “Nonetheless, Vulcan owns the four parcels of property that make up its Mexico operation, including the port facilities. Likewise, Vulcan lawfully holds the port concession. Use of Vulcan’s private property by third parties, such as Cemex, requires Vulcan’s authorization.”

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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