Borderlands: Laredo looks to add, expand bridges to boost Mexico trade
Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Laredo’s bridge master plan aims to boost Mexico trade; German automaker invests $72 million in San Luis Potosí; Transmontes orders 75 Freightliner trucks; El Paso opens route for trucks headed to Mexico.
Laredo’s bridge master plan aims to boost Mexico trade
The World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas, could reach capacity by 2030, negatively impacting commercial truck wait times and trade flows, according to a new study.
The findings are part of the city of Laredo’s bridge master plan, discussed during a Feb. 22 council council meeting. The goal of the plan is to increase trade between Mexico and the United States at all of Laredo’s international bridges.
“The report has started signaling that the bridge should be pretty close to capacity by 2030, if nothing is done,” Robert Eads, Laredo’s city manager, told FreightWaves. “The good thing is we’re doing things today, major projects that we know will extend that capacity, but we’re still going to end up at the same point; we will still always be building out. Our true opportunity is going to be expansion of the World Trade Bridge and the greater use of the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge.”
Some of the projects already underway include the World Trade Bridge FAST Lane Initiative and addition of weigh-in-motion (WIM) technology in existing commercial lanes, Eads said.
The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the United States from Mexico and Canada.
Laredo’s FAST project consists of relocating FAST lanes to a new site on the northside of Port Laredo, allowing FAST trucks a more direct route from the international bridge.
SNB Infrastructure is conducting the bridge master plan and is still collecting data and reaching out to stakeholders, which include the city of Laredo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. and Mexican customs brokers, and the Texas Department of Transportation.
Some of the findings from the study include:
- Commercial vehicle traffic will increase 3.3% from 2019 to 2030.
- Eight percent of the commercial vehicles that cross the border in Laredo originate from Monterrey, Mexico.
- Without improvements, wait times at the World Trade Bridge could increase 105% by 2030.
- The Colombia-Solidarity Bridge in Laredo continues to be underutilized due to transfer costs and Mexican customs broker licensing issues.
Other stakeholders in the port’s expansion include officials in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and the government in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
Nelson Balido, representing the Texas-Tamaulipas Trade Office, said a lot of people in the trade community think the World Trade Bridge is already at capacity.
“Certainly depending on who you talk to, people who may say today already the bridge is at capacity, there’s certainly a lot of congestion,” Balido said during the Feb. 22 council meeting.
Read full article: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/borderlands-us-mexico-cross-border-trade-faces-hurdles-general-electric-cuts-257-jobs-at-texas-plant