After causing long wait times for thousands of trucks, Texas officials have reduced the number of inspections for tractor-trailers arriving from Mexico at two border crossings, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s increased inspections of trucks, which began last Tuesday, created wait times of up to 26 hours for commercial traffic at Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville and the Free Trade International Bridge in the town of Los Indios.
The inspections are being carried out by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“The safety inspections have not ended completely. DPS conducts these safety exams, but at a small percentage each day,” Armando Taboada, assistant director of field operations at CBP’s Laredo Field Office, said in an email to FreightWaves. “The issue we had is that they were inspecting 100% [of trucks].”
Taboada said CBP was able to keep normal hours of operation for the commercial facilities at both the Veterans and Los Indios bridges last week, despite the disruption caused by the DPS inspections.
“The 100% has ended and only a very small percentage of trucks are being inspected which does not affect our exit gates from the import lot in order for trucks to flow through,” Taboada said.
Texas DPS did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Normally, CBP handles about 1,100 trucks a day at Veterans International Bridge. CBP officials said last week they were processing about 400 northbound trucks a day from Mexico because of the slowdowns caused by the DPS inspections.
The DPS inspections are in addition to those conducted by CBP, which already inspects a percentage of commercial and passenger vehicles crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The DPS inspections have drawn criticism from state officials, as well as members of the cross-border trade community.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, has been critical of DPS for the inspections, saying they caused unnecessary delays.
“It’s all show because they cannot open the trucks,” Cuellar told Border Report. “They can only check for brakes, they can only check for windshield wipers and stuff. They cannot open the cargo trailers.”
Javier Saldivar, a representative for Mexico’s national trucking chamber of commerce (CANACAR), estimated that the disruption caused by the DPS inspections has caused significant economic losses.
“They check truck by truck, one by one at 100%, causing traffic jams of lines of up to 16 miles, lines of operators of up to 27 hours, which has caused millions in losses,” Saldivar said at a press conference Friday, according to Periodico Contacto.
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