Trade between Mexico and the United States is on the rise. This growing partnership between neighboring countries offers the cost savings U.S. companies need, as well as faster delivery times for consumers and economic growth opportunities for Mexico.
Earlier this year, Mexico surpassed Canada as the United States’ top trading partner. In that same time period, Laredo, Texas, became the country’s No. 1 gateway for international trade, pointing to a growing reliance on Mexico as companies continue to divest from China.
“Mexico is one of the U.S.’ major trading partners, and I expect this business to grow as some companies are trying to reduce their reliance on Chinese manufacturing,” said DeLon Garbett, managing partner of sales and operations at GB & Associates.
Recent import and export data supports Garbett’s hypothesis.
“Exports from Laredo to the world increased 9% y/y [year over year] to $10.9 billion and imports increased 14% y/y to $17.7 billion,” according to a recent article by FreightWaves reporter Noi Mahoney. “Auto parts ($2.3 billion), passenger vehicles ($1.1 billion) and heavy-duty trucks ($1.1 billion) were the top three imports from Mexico to the U.S. through Laredo.”
Not only is trade between Mexico and the United States on the upswing, but there is a significant amount of high-value freight — like vehicles — crossing the border. Criminals looking to steal high-value cargo are attracted to the vulnerabilities associated with international border crossings, putting these shipments in harm’s way.
“Two types of fraud are prevalent in cross-border shipping: cargo theft while in transit and theft on the Mexican side of the border,” Garbett said. “We have even had drivers and equipment kidnapped in the past.”
Combatting cargo theft is an important issue, but it becomes even more crucial when company equipment — and even human lives — are on the line. When the stakes are this high, having visibility into a shipment’s movements is critical.
“Tracking has helped us recover equipment in the past by geofencing,” Garbett noted.
Accurate, real-time tracking is a game changer when it comes to both recovering assets and preventing theft in the first place. The risky nature of cross-border shipping — combined with the proven benefits of tracking — has motivated many shippers to mandate visibility from start to finish.
There are several practicalities shippers and brokers need to consider when choosing a cross-border visibility partner. A recent Trucker Tools blog post pointed out that solutions should support international phone numbers and addresses and play nicely with common international communication technologies like WhatsApp. Additionally, it is important for cross-border solutions to work across multiple languages, especially English, Spanish and French.
“Most cross border tracks involve three or more commercial trucks, which is why any cross border freight tracking solution you consider ought to support multiple driver phone numbers and truck/trailer numbers on each track,” according to Trucker Tools. “You’ll want a load tracking technology that includes ELD integration options for drivers, too, to drive high carrier compliance.”
Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform — as well as its driver app — meet these requirements. The solutions were designed to work seamlessly across both the Mexican and Canadian borders. Additionally, Trucker Tools easily integrates with other solutions shippers may be using to manage their cross-border shipments.