Heightened Inspections Wreak Havoc with Cross-Border Supply Chains

As we discussed earlier this month in Redwood Mexico’s April Cross-Border Index, increasing security protocols — including the new Carta Porte regulations that went into effect on March 31 — have been slowing the pace of cross-border movements for logistics teams. With US-Mexico trade accounting for $798.83 billion in 2023, any lag at the border can have significant economic impacts.

Unfortunately, those delays have increased exponentially with the implementation of new cargo inspection policies for the Ysleta–Zaragoza International Bridge which began on Saturday, April 27. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been conducting enhanced inspections of all commercial trucks entering the US via the bridge, which connects Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas. 

These enhanced inspections — which Texas Governor Greg Abbott says are focused on reducing illegal immigration and narcotics traffic — are in addition to the cross-border inspections already conducted by US federal agencies at El Paso. According to Border Report, wait times have increased from one hour to more than eight hours at the bridge. Long delays are not only slowing product deliveries and increasing logistics costs, but creating unsafe conditions for drivers who can’t access bathrooms, air conditioning, food or water in the 90-degree heat.

Instead of sending their drivers, trucks and cargo into these conditions, many truckers are opting to wait out the enhanced inspections. While the DPS hasn’t made any official announcements, the heightened inspection protocols are expected to continue throughout this week. This isn’t the first time Abbott has authorized these enhanced inspections that dramatically impact trade, a move that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has previously called “unnecessary.”

For logistics teams that need to keep their goods moving, CBP has expanded its hours for routine inspections at two other border crossings —the Santa Teresa port of entry in New Mexico, and the Marcelino Serna port of entry in Tornillo, Texas. However, using these alternative border-crossing locations may take trucks hundreds of miles out of the way, resulting in significantly higher costs.

For Cross-Border Shippers, Disruptions Are a Fact of Life

While near-shoring production in Mexico has clear benefits, managing these kinds of disruptions has become a cost of doing business there. And, as both Mexico and the United States hold key elections this year, we can expect more political maneuvering and policy changes that have the potential to impact logistics.

How can companies capitalize on the nearly $800 billion opportunity represented by US-Mexico trade, while minimizing their risk exposure and successfully navigating disruptions?

The clear answer is to work with an expert partner with specialized capabilities in cross-border logistics. As a modern, full-service 4PL, Redwood Logistics has decades of experience in cross-border movements, managing over 30,000 shipments across the US-Mexico border every year. Redwood offers cross-border capacity solutions, warehousing and distribution services, US customs clearance, Mexico customs clearance, industry-leading transportation management solutions, and physical assets.

Unlike other logistics services providers, Redwood has put “boots on the ground” in Mexico and made significant investments in cross-border logistics. Redwood Mexico employs more than 100 experts and operates six facilities on both sides of the border.

Every day, Redwood can optimize your cross-border movements for speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness — by minimizing loading and unloading times, streamlining intermodal movements, accelerating border crossing times, optimizing loads and routes, and maximizing the capacity of all assets.

And, when disruptions inevitably occur, Redwood Mexico can apply its specialized expertise, along with AI-enabled technology solutions, to determine the right course of action — balancing cost, service, sustainability, product perishability, driver health and safety, and other concerns. Whether it’s a natural disaster, geopolitical uncertainty, new customs policies, or fluctuating exchange rates, Redwood can help you weather the storm and drive the best possible results.

Frustrated by the current delays at the border and other ongoing supply chain disruptions? With years of experience supporting the world’s leading logistics teams, Redwood has “been there and done that.” You can trust us to not only navigate border crossings, but also maximize the return on your end-to-end nearshoring journey. Why not contact us today to learn more?