Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cargo processing resumes at Cd. Juárez-El Paso bridge

Freight trucks can once again enter the United States via the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) between Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas, after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) resumed cargo processing on Tuesday morning.

The CBP suspended cargo processing at the bridge on Sept. 18 to allow its officers to assist Border Patrol in processing migrants entering the United States between official ports of entry.

Cargo processing closures and increased inspections at several border crossings have caused huge backlogs of goods for export. (Comentario U de C/X)

The CBP announced Monday that the BOTA cargo facility would reopen on Tuesday with what it called a “limited schedule” of 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, those hours are the usual operating hours. In an online trade information notice, the CBP said that cargo processing would be reduced from normal operations but didn’t specify how.

The BOTA cargo facility was processing about 500 northbound trucks per day prior to the three-week closure, El Paso Times reported.

Despite the commercial reopening of BOTA, CBP said in a statement that it “continues to encourage members of the trade community to consider other nearby commercial cargo facilities located at the Ports of Ysleta, Marcelino Serna (Tornillo), and Santa Teresa.”

“Hours of operation at Tornillo and Santa Teresa remain extended to ensure the safe and orderly processing of cargo and support the needs of the trade community,” the federal agency said.

The increased inspections and closures at various border crossings have caused long delays in the past weeks. (CBP El Paso/X)

The closure of the BOTA cargo facility and the Texas government’s decision to conduct stringent inspections of trucks entering the Lone Star state at other border crossings between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso have caused long delays for northbound trucks in recent weeks.

Mexico’s National Chamber of Trucking said late last week that goods worth more than US $1.5 billion were held up at the border between Chihuahua and Texas due to the inspections aimed at detecting the illegal entry of migrants and narcotics.

Miriam Kotowski, president of Tecma Transportation Services, a logistics company that regularly uses commercial truck crossings between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, said that the reopening of the cargo facility at the Bridge of the Americas will help reduce crossing times.

However, she added that inspections conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) at the Ysleta-Zaragoza and Tornillo ports of entry in the El Paso area are “impeding trade and commerce.”

AMLO border crossings
The president discussed migration at the Monday press conference, and also said his government would send a diplomatic note to the U.S. to express opposition to the stringent Texas truck inspections. (MOISÉS PABLO/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

Those inspections have drastically reduced the flow of cross-border cargo truck traffic, Kotowski said.

“These TX DPS enhancements undermine state-of-the-art X-ray inspections and [truck] safety inspections by both” CBP and the U.S. Department of Transportation, she said in a statement.

President López Obrador announced Monday that the government would send a diplomatic note to its United States counterpart to express its opposition to truck inspections being carried out by the Texas government.

The inspections “harm the two nations [and] harm economic activity and the normal movement of people,” he said.

“… It’s the same as the [floating] barriers in the … [Rio Grande], … nothing but publicity stunts, pure politicking. … [Governor Greg Abbott] is not acting responsibly, he’s trying to get a political advantage with these measures, but it will be counterproductive because we’re going to call on our compatriots, our neighbors, our brothers from Texas to not vote for those who act irresponsibly,” López Obrador said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said in a statement later on Monday that the Mexican government in its diplomatic note urged the U.S. government to lobby the Texas government “to stop the exhaustive inspections” of cargo trucks at crossings in the El Paso area as well as that between Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, and Del Rio, Texas.

Migrants at the Piedras Negras crossing
Increased arrivals of migrants at crossings such as Piedras Negras-Eagle Pass led the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to shut down cargo processing at some points of entry. (Cuartoscuro)

The SRE also said that the government raised with its U.S. counterpart “the impact on bilateral trade due to the closure of some points of entry” in the Tijuana-San Diego, Ciudad Juárez-El Paso and Piedras Negras-Eagle Pass areas.

“In the note, the government of Mexico requests the reestablishment of trade flows via the border crossings, which have been interrupted due to the closure of cargo operations at … BOTA since Sept. 18, the closure of the Piedras Negras-Eagle Pass International Bridge I since Sept. 20 and the closure of the pedestrian crossing (PedWest) at the El Chaparral-San Ysidro port of entry since Sept. 14,” the ministry said.

“The government of Mexico recognizes the progress in binational dialogue that has resulted in the partial reoopening of the commercial area of … BOTA from Oct. 10 and reaffirms its commitment to continue working so that operations are completely reestablished,” the SRE said.

With reports from El Paso Times 

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