is a port city that with its surrounding municipality
is located in the southern part of the Mexican state
. It was formerly known as Los Llanitos
, but changed its name as a tribute to Lázaro Cárdenas del Río
, a Michoacán-born politician who was president of Mexico
The city is located at , where the Río Balsas drains into the Pacific Ocean. In the 2005 census, the city's population was 74,884. It is served by Lázaro Cárdenas Airport. The municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, which has an area of 1,160.24 km² (447.97 sq mi), had a total population of 162,997 in 2005, and includes extensive territory outside the city, including the communities of Las Guacamayas, La Orilla, and La Mira.
When known as Los Llanitos, it formed part of the municipality of Arteaga
. In 1932
it was given town status and named Melchor Ocampo. On April 12
, during the governorship of José María Mendoza Prado
, the state congress decreed the creation of the municipality of Melchor Ocampo del Balsas. The name of the municipality changed again on November 17
, to Lázaro Cárdenas, in honor of the popular former president who had died the previous month.
In 2006, steelworkers in a Lázaro Cárdenas steel plant went on strike, causing numerous injuries and deaths.
The city is served by the Lázaro Cárdenas Airport
Lázaro Cárdenas is home to a deep-water seaport
that handles container
, dry bulk, and liquid cargo. The port handled 160,000 TEU in 2005
but is expanding to a capacity of 2.2 million TEU annually. Cargo is moved to and from the port by road and rail equally, with rail service provided exclusively by Kansas City Southern Railway
. The port is expected to become a major container facility due to congestion at the U.S.
ports of Los Angeles
and Long Beach
and its relative proximity to major cities such as Chicago
, Kansas City
, and Houston
. In preparation for the port's increased capacity, railway and highway infrastructure running north-south through the center of Mexico has been upgraded in recent years to handle the anticipated increase in volume of goods bound for the United States using this transportation corridor. However, if a proposed Pacific port with government backing is built at Punta Colonet, Baja California
, goods coming to fast growing U.S. states like Arizona
could bypass the congested Los Angeles region with closer access those markets, increasing competition with Lázaro Cárdenas.