Mexican auto part exporters turn to air cargo to avoid border gridlock
A FIVE-mile-long line of trucks at the US-Mexican border has prompted exporters based in Mexico to look for alternative modes of transport, particularly, air freight for auto parts and medical equipment manufacturers
A FIVE-mile-long line of trucks at the US-Mexican border has prompted exporters based in Mexico to look for alternative modes of transport, particularly, air freight for auto parts and medical equipment manufacturers.
The crippling traffic jams sprung up in the wake of a move by the Trump administration to move US federal agents away from customs checks to immigration duties.
Vehicle part and medical equipment makers were among the businesses considering a switch to more expensive air freight to avoid incurring penalties for late delivery to US clients or factory closures, according to Mexico's manufacturing industry chamber (INDEX) president Luis Aguirre, reported Reuters.
At least one unnamed auto part factory has already had to shut down a production line in Ciudad Juarez because of the export delays, despite some traffic shifting to smaller, nearby ports of entry, Mr Aguirre said.
'I've never experienced anything like this,' said truck driver Juan Sandoval.
Authorities in Ciudad Juarez have installed brightly coloured pink and blue portable washrooms along the traffic jammed route and were handing out drinking water to truckers, some of whom were forced to sleep in their cabin overnight.
Washington's decision to move 750 border agents from commercial to immigration duties to handle families seeking asylum between border crossings has triggered long delays for cross-border traffic at Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo and Otay Mesa, some of the busiest ports on the border.
US President Donald Trump last week reiterated a threat to close the border, or sections of it, saying Congress could avoid such a shutdown by changing laws to fix what he called immigration 'loopholes'.
Business leaders on both sides of the border say a shutdown would hurt supply chains and US$1.7 billion in daily trade at some of the world's busiest land crossings.
'Trump is seeking re-election and clearly the threats about the increase in immigrants is political,' added Mr Aguirre.