Blockade at Mexican Border Risks $35 Billion in Shipments

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Mexican truckers blockaded a key Texas border crossing for a second day to protest Governor Greg Abbott’s stepped-up vehicle inspections, raising the specter of delivery disruptions for everything from avocados to auto parts, Bloomberg News reported. The growing queue of 18-wheelers on the Mexican side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge has choked crossings to a halt, according to a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. With temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), produce hauled in unrefrigerated trucks is at risk of spoiling at a time of already rampant food inflation. The crossing normally sees about $35 billion in annual trade. The dispute stems from Abbott’s decision just days ago to dispatch state police to inspect shipments flowing north into Texas in what he said would “ensure that Texans are not endangered by unsafe vehicles and their unsafe drivers.” The delays “are significantly impacting the local and regional supply chain, to the point that local trade associations are requesting that the Texas government provide relief of process change to the border truck inspection process,” said a White House official, who said the blame lies solely with state officials and not federal border patrol agents. On Tuesday, Mexico’s Deputy Trade Minister Luz Maria de la Mora sent a letter to the Republican leader of the second-largest U.S. state requesting cooperation in finding ways to keep trade flowing. Read more.