FOLLOWING US trends, Mexican cargo is also shifting from west to east coast ports, reports IHS Media.
Figures show the Gulf Coast's share of Mexico's cargo up from 32.9 per cent in 2016 to 34.5 per cent in 2017.
At the same time, the Pacific coast's share fell from 67.1 per cent of the Mexican laden boxes in 2016 to 65.5 per cent in 2017.
Volume through Mexican ports increased 12 per cent year on year in 2017, as more shippers routed goods through the Gulf Coast than Pacific ports.
Overall, Mexico handled 4.6 million laden TEU in 2017, about 60 per cent of which were imports, up by from 4.1 million loaded TEU in 2016, according to government figures. Imports increased by 10.5 per cent and exports increased by 14 per cent.
The improved economic situation in Europe also contributed as the latter has boosted exports from Mexico's thriving automobile parts industry near the Gulf coast.
Economist Paul Bingham of Boston's Economic Development Research Group said the canal's opening is a likely reason for the proportional increase of Mexico's Gulf port market share.
'The Mexican trend mirrors what is happening in the US to coastal port shares,' he said. 'With increased canal capacity and the maturation of gateways used for import and export distribution networks favouring ports that don't require full cross-country travel by road or rail.'