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Mexican Trucking Companies Waiting for Certainty in Cross-Border Program

11/8/2011 10:15:00 AM
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Most Mexican trucking companies are not willing to make the long-term investments to participate in the latest cross-border pilot program with the United States, in part because of uncertainties over the program’s future, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Companies are reluctant to invest in technology to meet tougher U.S. pollution controls, Jose Refugio Munoz, CEO of the Mexican trucking association Camara Nacional del Autotransporte de Carga, known as or Canacar, told Bloomberg.

The current 18-month pilot program followed a prior similar pilot program, which wan 2007 to 2009 before it was canceled after President Obama took office.

The Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration resumed the program after Mexico said it would put more than $2 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods in protest of the suspended program, first outlined under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

FMCSA last month issued the first permit to a Mexican trucking company, Transportes Olympic, and a lone truck from that carrier remains the only cleared truck for U.S. entry under the program.

Some 27 companies and 101 trucks hauled cargo into the United States under the previous program, Bloomberg said.

Only one other company, Tijuana, Mexico-based Grupo Behr de Baja California, has applied to follow Transportes Olympic, according to FMCSA.

Six others are preparing to apply, according to Mexico’s transport ministry, Bloomberg reported. The largest owns 15 trucks, while most have 1 or 2 rigs, according to FMCSA records.

Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S. exports, and about 70% of the $400 billion in annual trade between the countries travels by truck, Bloomberg said, citing Mexico’s embassy in Washington.

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