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Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Exports of Mexican-made trucks jump 17% in October; Pilot Freight Services expands in Texas; Trade X launches a platform for auto imports/exports in Mexico; and U.S. Border Patrol agents halt smugglers using trucks to transport migrants.

Exports of Mexican-made heavy-duty trucks rise 25% in October

Mexican heavy-duty truck manufacturing and exports continued to rebound in October, bolstered by demand from the United States and other countries, said Miguel Elizalde, president of Mexico’s National Association of Bus, Truck and Tractor Producers (ANPACT).

During the month, the 10 truck makers who are members of ANPACT manufactured 17,281 heavy vehicles, a 27% year-over-year (y/y) increase compared to 2021. Exports of trucks increased 25% y/y to 14,209 units.

“We are in positive numbers,” Elizalde said during a video news conference Thursday. “… We hope that the numbers that will be reported during November and December continue this growth trend to reaffirm that we are an exporting power.” 

Truck makers and parts manufacturers with assembly plants and factories in Mexico include Freightliner, Kenworth, Navistar, Hino, International, DINA, MAN SE, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Scania, Cummins and Detroit Diesel.

The U.S. continues to be the main destination for trucks produced in Mexico, accounting for 95% of exports in October, followed by Canada (2.3%) and Colombia (1.6%), according to data from Mexico’s national statistics agency (INEGI).

Freightliner was the top truck producer and exporter in Mexico for the month. The company built 10,000 trucks, a 36% y/y increase, and exported 9,092, a 33% y/y increase. 

International Trucks Inc. produced 5,221 units in October, a 12% y/y increase, and exported 4,619, a 14% y/y increase.

Kenworth produced 1,173 units during the month, an 8% y/y decline compared to the same year-ago period. The company exported 494 trucks, a 6% y/y increase compared to October 2021.

Elizalde also discussed the recent cyberattack against Mexico’s Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) on Oct. 24.

SICT regulates commercial road transport throughout the country. After the cyberattack, the agency announced it would stop issuing new permits, license plates and driver’s licenses for commercial truck operators until Dec. 31.

Elizalde said there is a current backlog of up to 950 trucks waiting to receive permits to operate and that delaying new documents until next year could hurt trade.

“Let’s remember that 5 million crossings are made each year between Mexico and the United States, and we need to preserve the dynamism of the export industry,” he said. “The [trucking] industry manufactures productive assets through which companies and public sector entities move primary consumer goods — such as food, medicine, fuel, medical, security and many others essential for economic activity — so it is important to keep our industry going.”

On Thursday, SICT officials announced a series of actions aimed at providing emergency solutions for the trucking industry after the system hacking. Emergency service kiosks were installed in all SICT centers across the country to help operators with renewing registration for existing permits and driver’s licenses. 

The agency also said it is communicating with U.S. authorities to help trucking operators maintain the documents needed for cross-border freight. However, the order suspending the issuance of new permits and licenses through the end of the year will remain in place for now.

Pilot Freight Services expands Texas footprint with new location

Logistics forwarder Pilot Freight Services has announced the opening of new facilities in Kyle, Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska.

The Kyle facility will support customers in the Austin and San Antonio markets, the company said in a news release. Pilot Freight now sports six facilities in Texas, as well as a dedicated middle-mile hub in Dallas.  

Both the Kyle and Omaha facilities will offer transportation solutions via air, ground and ocean integrated services.

Headquartered in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, Pilot provides first-, middle- and final-mile transportation, specializing in big and bulky freight delivery. The company operates about 90 facilities throughout North America with more than 2,600 employees.

In February, Pilot was acquired by shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk in a $1.8 billion deal.

Trade X launches platform for automotive imports/exports in Mexico 

Auto trading service Trade X is opening a new facility in Mexico and expanding its digital marketplace to connect buyers and dealers in Mexico, Canada and Nigeria

“We’re excited to connect automotive buyers and sellers in this highly important market,” Ricardo Ampudia, Trade X’s director of Mexico sales, said in a news release. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in interest in used vehicles. We look forward to working with Mexico’s dealers, fleet companies and mobility providers.”

The Trade X platform aims to connect automotive dealers, fleet owners, rental companies and mobility solution providers with importers and exporters around the world.

Ontario, Canada-based Trade X also offers services such as quality checks, currency exchange, engaging registered importers, shipping, real-time pricing analytics, retitling and customs clearance.

Border agents halt smugglers using trucks to transport migrants

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley sector in South Texas arrested 29 migrants and two drivers in separate incidents.

The first case occurred Nov. 5 in Falfurrias, Texas, when agents at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station discovered 15 migrants inside a refrigerated tractor-trailer. 

The second case occurred Monday at a checkpoint near Sarita, Texas, when agents found 14 migrants inside a grain hauler-style tractor-trailer.

The drivers and migrants were arrested in both cases.

“These human smuggling incidents highlight the extreme measures smugglers take to maximize profits regardless of the lives they endanger,” Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said in a statement.

Watch: Diesel fuel prices continue to increase.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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