Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: US-Mexico cross-border trade may hit $1 trillion by 2028; Railway expands freight capacity with new bridge in North Texas; Toms taps Texas logistics software provider as U.S. fulfillment partner; and CBP discovers 1st-in-nation pest in Southern California.
US-Mexico cross-border trade may hit $1 trillion by 2028
International trade between the U.S. and Mexico could top $1 trillion within the next five years, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.
Cuellar was speaking at a groundbreaking Wednesday for the Las Americas Roma Logistics and Industrial Park in Roma, Texas, where he discussed Mexico, the United States’ largest trading partner last year and year to date in 2023.
“We’re hoping in … less than five years, we are going to hit $1 trillion of trade between the U.S. and Mexico,” Cuellar said, according to CBS 4. “We’re at $863 billion last year. The way we’re growing … in less than five years, we’ll hit 1 trillion.”
The U.S. Census Bureau gives a lower figure for 2022: $779 billion. Cuellar’s office did not immediately respond to FreightWaves’ request for clarification. Trade between Mexico and the U.S. totaled almost $400 billion from January through June 2023, according to the Census Bureau.
In 2022, trade between the U.S. and Canada totaled $793 billion, while trade with China totaled $690 billion.
During the ceremony, Cuellar also announced $1.5 million in federal funding for the new logistics and industrial park in Roma, which will be a 147-acre facility with more than 25 commercial warehouses. The funding will go toward completing the park’s electrical, communications and water/drainage infrastructure.
“As South Texas continues to grow, so too does our demand for proper industrial facilities,” Cuellar said.
The industrial park will be minutes away from the Roma port of entry on the Mexican border. Roma is about 90 miles east of Laredo and 50 miles west of McAllen, Texas.
The port of entry at the Roma-Ciudad Miguel Aleman International Bridge spans the Rio Grande River, connecting Roma with the Mexican city of Miguel Aleman. The Roma port of entry originally opened in 1928, but the current two-lane bridge was constructed in 1988.
Cross-border trade through the bridge totaled $647 million in 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.
Las Americas Roma Logistics and Industrial Park will also include a new secondary examination station for agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The examination station will be equipped with cold storage facilities to check fresh produce arriving from Mexico.
CBP officials said the Roma port of entry has seen an uptick in cargo truck traffic the past several years.
“We were averaging about 23 trucks a day, and today we average close to 200 a day,” Andres Guerra, CBP director for the port of entry, told CBS 4. “Previously, we did not receive any produce. At this moment, we process over 120 trucks a day of produce. Roma is now the fifth-largest port in terms of produce on the Southwest border from California to Brownsville, [Texas].”
Cross-border trade continued to boom in June, with Mexico being the top U.S. trade partner at $68.49 billion, a 1% year-over-year (y/y) increase.
It’s the sixth time in the past seven months that Mexico ranked No. 1. Canada edged out Mexico as the top U.S. trading partner in April.
During June, Canada ranked No. 2 at $66.3 billion in trade, while China ranked third, reporting $44.6 billion in trade.
For the fifth straight month, Laredo retained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade, according to WorldCity.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles were tied for second at $25.6 billion, while John F. Kennedy International Airport was No. 3 at $21 billion.
During June, Laredo recorded a 6.2% y/y increase in total commerce to $27.6 billion, with auto parts ($12.7 billion), passenger vehicles ($7.5 billion) and commercial vehicles ($5.8 billion) as the top imports from Mexico.
The top exports from the U.S. to Mexico were auto parts ($7.9 billion), gasoline ($1.9 billion) and diesel engines ($1.6 billion).
Railway expands freight capacity with new bridge in North Texas
BNSF Railway recently opened the Trinity River bridge near Fort Worth, Texas, aiming to bolster capacity throughout the region, company officials said.
The bridge is part of the railway’s plan to add double-track segments from Fort Worth to the city of Temple in central Texas.
The bridge, which services both freight and passenger trains, is the first of two planned to span the Trinity River. The second track will be built after the team demolishes a 126-year-old steel bridge. The second span is scheduled for completion in 2024.
“We are excited about the increased capacity this bridge project will bring, which will help support the tremendous future growth expected in Texas and the Gulf Coast region,” Jon Gabriel, BNSF’s vice president of service design, said in a news release.
Fort Worth-based BNSF is one of North America’s largest freight transportation companies, operating 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and three Canadian provinces.
Toms taps Texas logistics software provider as US fulfillment partner
Austin, Texas-based Cart.com Inc. recently announced that Los Angeles-based footwear brand Toms will use the company’s software for inventory management, 3PL and fulfillment offerings in the U.S.
Cart.com’s 3PL offering aims to enable business-to-business, business-to-consumer and D2C customers to automate and simplify mission-critical supply chain operations, reduce costs and deliver real-time order and inventory visibility.
“Cart.com’s software-enabled inventory, 3PL and fulfillment capabilities will enable us to deliver best-in-class fulfillment, from checkout through the last mile, across our global product line,” Magnus Wedhammar, CEO of Toms, said in a news release.
Founded in 2020, Cart.com is an omnichannel logistics and software solutions provider with over 1,100 employees and 6,000 brands on its platform.
CBP discovers 1st-in-nation pest in Southern California
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said Thursday a first-in-the-nation pest was discovered July 19 at the Otay Mesa port of entry, just south of San Diego.
CBP agriculture specialists were inspecting a shipment of pocket leaves arriving from Mexico when they discovered an insect identified as Rhabdotalebra signata.
Insects belonging to the Rhabdotalebra family can damage crops such as beans, potatoes, apple trees and grapes, according to a report in the Journal of the Argentine Entomological Society. The mothlike species is indigenous to Central and South America.
The species had not been previously recorded in the Department of Agriculture’s database, qualifying the discovery as a first across all ports in the nation.
The shipment of pocket leaves was returned to Mexico. Pocket leaves are commonly used in Vietnamese and Thai cuisines, according to Walmart.
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