Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: New Mexico lands first major auto parts manufacturing plant; FedEx closing facility in Texas, eliminating 58 jobs; Nippon Express opens logistics warehouse in Arizona; and San Diego customs agent charged with taking bribes from drug smugglers.
New Mexico lands first major auto parts manufacturing plant
Taiwan-based Hota Industrial Manufacturing has signed an agreement to build an auto parts factory in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
The $72 million facility will be on 30 acres in Westpark Industrial Park and will create 350 jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.
“Hota chose New Mexico’s Borderplex because of the availability of desirable land, the workforce, and our logistical advantages that provides access to both Mexico’s factories and North American customers,” Alicia J. Keyes, New Mexico’s economic development cabinet secretary, said in a news release.
The Hota Industrial Manufacturing plant in Santa Teresa opens a new chapter for the state’s economy.
“There are several machine shops scattered around New Mexico — and Boeing, BlueHalo, Intel, Admiral Cable Inc. and Prent Corp. have manufacturing here — but I do believe that Hota would be the first large auto parts factory in the state,” Bruce Krasnow, spokesman for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, told FreightWaves.
Hota is Taiwan’s largest manufacturer of gears and shafts for vehicles, motorcycles and heavy-duty commercial trucks, producing about 20 million automotive transmission gears annually, according to the company’s website.
The company’s clients include automakers Ford, General Motors, BMW and Tesla, as well as automotive supplier BorgWarner.
Hota’s factory will be about 6 miles from the Santa Teresa port of entry, a commercial and noncommercial gateway on the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 160,000 commercial trucks passed through the Santa Teresa crossing in 2022.
Santa Teresa is about 20 minutes from El Paso, Texas. The area, commonly known as the Borderplex, also includes Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
New Mexico officials touted recent infrastructure investments as catalysts helping to attract investment along the border, including $700 million in improvements announced last year. One of the largest upgrades will be a $170 million expansion at the Santa Teresa port of entry, which includes a congressional request for a presidential permit for a rail bypass.
The expansion includes improvements on roads and highways to help traffic flow and trade operations in the Santa Teresa, El Paso and Juarez areas.
“Hota is one of several new companies who see New Mexico as a solution to fortify
and diversify their global supply chain,” Keyes said.
Other companies recently opening facilities or announcing investments in New Mexico include Franklin Mountain Packaging, Louisiana Pepper Exchange and Oro LLC.
The New Mexico factory will be Hota’s first manufacturing facility outside of Asia. The Taipei, Taiwan-based company has more than 1,500 global employees and offices in Europe and Mexico, as well as Detroit and Los Angeles.
Hota had been considering a site in Texas to open its first manufacturing facility in the U.S., according to a 2021 report from the Financial Times. In the same report, Hota officials said the expansion into the U.S. was banking on increased demand for electric vehicle parts.
FedEx closing facility in Texas, eliminating 48 jobs
FedEx is permanently closing a facility in Temple, Texas, and laying off 58 workers by Sept. 4, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice filed with the state.
Company officials did not provide a reason for the closure. The layoffs include 48 couriers, two managers, two service agents, five handlers and a dangerous-goods agent.
Some employees will remain employed after the closure and be shifted to nearby FedEx locations, company officials said.
The closure follows closings in Mississippi and Georgia, where the company is permanently shuttering facilities and eliminating positions.
Nippon Express opens logistics warehouse in Arizona
Nippon Express recently opened the Mesa Logistics Center in Mesa, Arizona.
The 58,354-square-foot warehouse facility aims to serve customers in the semiconductor chip industry. Mesa Logistics Center includes 14 truck bays and is about 15 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, according to a news release.
The warehouse offers the environmental conditions — including temperature and humidity levels as well as dust and static control — necessary for handling semiconductors and electronic components, Nippon officials said.
Tokyo-based Nippon Express is a global logistics services company with 739 worldwide locations and more than 33,000 employees.
San Diego customs agent charged with taking bribes from drug smugglers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Leonard Darnell George has been indicted on charges that he took bribes to allow drug-filled vehicles to pass through the U.S.-Mexico border, according to federal prosecutors.
George faces a charge of receiving bribes by a public official and two conspiracy charges for trafficking and distributing drugs, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.
Prosecutors allege George, along with Mario Angel Gutierrez, Esteban Galvan and four unnamed defendants, allowed vehicles containing methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin to enter the U.S. from Mexico.
If convicted of the bribery charge, George faces up to 15 years in federal prison. George and the other defendants face possible life in prison if convicted on the conspiracy charges.
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