What changes will there be in Customs and Ports now that SEMAR has taken control?

Monday, June 21, 2021

As had already been announced as of last Saturday, June 5, the Merchant Navy and the Mexican Armed Navy (SEMAR) will be unified, taking control of the country’s ports and customs.

Previously, the secretary in charge of such control in customs and ports of the country was the secretary of communications and transportation. Unfortunately, the situation that the country is going through in terms of insecurity, merchandise smuggling, and drug introduction forced SEMAR to cede control in order to guarantee security and stop this type of illegal activity. The federal government stressed that the Secretary of the Navy is the most qualified to be able to ensure the aforementioned.

One of the beliefs and doubts that this new change has generated is the supposed militarization of ports and customs that when this change came into force. To which the Secretary of the Navy, Rafael Ojeda Guzmán, assured that there will be no militarization of ports and customs, and said that sailors are trained for these new functions.

“We are going to focus on banishing any act of corruption and mismanagement, of everything that by right belongs to Mexicans, without reservation, without personal interest and in no way militarizing said sector.”

As such, there will be no changes in the current processes or no job change has been mentioned in customs for the dispatch of merchandise, as has been pointed out on previous occasions, the main issue of change is zero tolerance for corruption and completely stops the following activities:

  • White collar crime. (called that way in Mexico)
  • Organized crime.
  • Acts of corruption.
  • Mismanagement for personal interests.

In the specific area of ​​customs, with the change of administration, the resignation of most of the public servants of middle and higher management was requested (45 of 49 customs administrators were removed in the first two-month period of the López Obrador government), This led to a loss of human capital that resulted in a significant loss of experience and knowledge in the field. Likewise, less than two years after the new administration took office, three General Customs Administrators have been appointed, with the consequences that this entails in terms of operational continuity and project implementation.

If we analyze the National Development Plan 2019-2024, it is observed that it does not contain any mention of the customs issue nor does it establish the government policy to be followed in foreign trade and customs matters. To date, the six-year program of the General Customs Administration is not public (or does not exist).


The change seeks to guarantee a cleaner and more transparent foreign trade where the clear objective is to make one of the most important sectors of the Mexican economy more efficient, which is foreign trade, but there is no detailed action plan, so We will be publishing any important changes in relation to the subject. In addition, the forecast of the change in the insertion of military commands in customs can bring an opposite effect to that demanded by the world and national economic situation, which is the facilitation of foreign trade since there will be a new learning period, in uncertain and complicated times, In addition to the fact that the profile of the new members is focused on national security issues, which may translate into obstacles to the flow of foreign trade merchandise, despite the training mentioned in SEMAR.