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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: Mexico proposes to modify its truck driver hours-of-service rule; two logistics providers expand operations into New Mexico; an auto parts supplier expands in Mexico, creating 600 jobs; and $8.3 million worth of meth was seized from a truck at the Laredo port of entry.

Mexico proposes to modify truck driver hours-of-service rule

The Mexican government is considering a proposal that would modify driving and rest times for commercial truck drivers across the country, a measure aimed at reducing accidents on roadways, said proponents of the measure.

Truck drivers will be required to take a 30-minute break after driving for seven consecutive hours, an eight-hour break after driving for 14 hours and a 24-hour break after driving two 14-hour shifts (with the required eight-hour break in between), according to a bill presented in the Mexican Senate on Sept. 29.

“It is considered necessary to improve the working conditions linked to the fatigue of drivers, improving the limits set forth … and bringing them to within the framework of the Federal Labor Law so that its compliance is stricter, and the protection of the rights of drivers and drivers can lead to the reduction of accidents and loss of life,” the bill states.

The initiative also requires truck drivers to log their hours of service.

Mexican Sen. Eli Cesar Cervantes said the bill’s aim is to protect truck drivers and other motorists on the road by creating safer conditions for everyone.

“Accidents on highways under federal jurisdiction have been increasing and one of the main causes is caused by the excessive driving times that drivers of the federal auto transport service are forced to comply with, thousands of kilometers without stopping,” Cesar Cervantes said in a news release. “Fatigue causes accidents that sometimes end people’s lives because they do not identify risk situations or do not have the same reflexes to avoid danger.”

Cesar Cervantes said more than 13,000 traffic accidents occurred due to cargo trucks in 2021.

Mexico’s Labor and Social Welfare Commission, a Senate committee, threw its support behind the bill on Wednesday. The bill now goes back to the country’s legislature for a possible vote in the next several weeks.

Mexico enacted HOS laws regulating truck drivers in 2018. It was the first law of its kind in Mexico on the federal level, as driving time had previously been left to individual trucking companies and varied widely.

Opponents of the HOS initiative said the bill could hurt the Mexican economy, as well as trade with the United States.

“We would run the risk of collapsing the transportation of food products of everything that is driven on our highways, because there would be no possibility for the transportation industry to be able to comply,” said Sen. Alfredo Botello, a member of the Labor and Social Welfare Commission. 

Jose Othon Borrego, manager of U.S. operations at Nuvocargo, said he supports measures that improve working conditions in the trucking industry but the initiative would have implications for cross-border trade.

New York-based Nuvocargo is a digital logistics platform for cross-border trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

“The times of transit would increase to get to their final destination; shippers with urgent cargo would have delays, even with a team driver; and loads and unload times would limit truck drivers,” Borrego told FreightWaves. 

Boreggo also said there is a truck driver shortage in Mexico that would be exacerbated by the initiative. 

2 logistics providers expand operations into New Mexico

Aries Worldwide Logistics and Pedraza Customhouse Brokers recently opened facilities in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Partnership.

Aries Worldwide Logistics is a Houston-based supply chain solutions and logistics company, and Pedraza Customhouse Brokers is a brokerage firm based in El Paso, Texas.

Officials for both companies said the aim of the expansions is to tap into increased U.S.-Mexico trade at the border port of entry in Santa Teresa.

“Statistics have shown that the Santa Teresa Port of Entry’s land port volume has quickly risen from 17th to 6th place in national rankings,” Jose A. Guzman, director of Aries Worldwide Logistics, said in a news release. 

Aries Worldwide Logistics said its $1.5 million expansion into Santa Teresa includes a 145,000-square-foot facility and 20 new jobs. The company offers warehousing, packing and brokerage solutions for trucking, rail, container ships and air cargo.

Pedraza Customhouse Brokers will occupy an 8,000-square-feet warehouse in Santa Teresa, providing customs, logistics and freight forwarding operations.

“We foresee maintained growth at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and with it a stronger need for our customs brokerage and warehousing capabilities,” Pedraza Vice President Mary Frances Allen said in a statement. 

Auto parts supplier expands in Mexico, creating 600 jobs

Lear Corp., a Tier 1 automotive supplier, recently announced it will invest $8.3 million to expand a facility in the central Mexican city of Zacatecas, according to Cluster Industrial.

The plant will boost its production floor by 30,139 square feet and create 600 jobs. The facility currently employs 2,700 workers. The company’s major clients include General Motors, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Stellantis.

Zacatecas is located about 387 miles north of Mexico City. In Mexico, Lear has 47 plants and 56,000 employees.

Lear Corp. is based in Southfield, Michigan. The company designs and manufactures automotive seating and electrical distribution systems. The company has more than 250 global facilities and 160,000 workers.

$8.3 million worth of meth seized from truck at Laredo port of entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents recently discovered 914 pounds of alleged methamphetamine concealed within a tractor at the U.S.-Mexico port of entry in Laredo, Texas.

The case occurred Monday at Laredo’s Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge. CBP officers searched an empty tractor-trailer arriving from Mexico and found the alleged meth, which has a street value of $8.4 million.

Both the truck driver and a passenger were arrested. The case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.

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