Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Transport Expo showcases Mexico’s trucking industry; Texas and Mexico officials host meeting to discuss border trade; Mexican company purchases 50 Kenworth trucks; officials celebrate start of the 2019-20 fresh produce import season.
International transport expo showcases Mexico’s trucking industry
Mexico’s trucking industry trends and news was highlighted from October 15-18 at Expo Transport ANPACT 2019.
The event had around 400 exhibitors and was attended by approximately 45,000 people in the city of Puebla, Mexico. The expo was hosted by Mexico’s national association of heavy duty truck and bus manufacturers (ANPACT).
The event is considered one of the most important automotive and heavy transport industry events in Latin America.
Some of the bigger news coming out of the event was Kenworth Trucks announcing a Level 4 autonomous truck prototype for the Mexican market.
The truck would be capable of driving itself. Level 4 autonomous trucks still have drivers present in the vehicle, but the vehicle would be operating fully on its own in all scenarios.
Kenworth engineer Jorge Lozada, who is responsible for the autonomous trucks unit of Grupo Paccar – which Kenworth is part of – said the aim is not to replace drivers, but give them more productivity.
“Paccar’s proposal is to increase worker productivity – what we need is to grow the operator’s profession and not eliminate it,” Lozada said during the expo, according to Vision Automotriz.
Daimler Trucks announced that it has sold 500 of its Freightliner Cascadia trucks since introducing it to the Mexican market in November 2018.
“We are very satisfied with the work that our network of distributors are doing, the approach they are having with our customers, promoting the benefits of this technology,” Flavio Rivera, president and chief executive of Daimler Commercial Vehicles México, said during a press event at the expo on October 16.
Not all the news coming out of the expo was good. Cummins Inc. announced it was laying off 10% of its workforce at its manufacturing plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The layoffs took place October 17.
Ignacio Garcia, Cummins’ vice president in Latin America, announced the layoffs to the media at the expo on October 17.
Garcia said reduced demand for trucks in the United States and the U.S.-China trade conflict made it necessary to reduce production in Mexico by 25% and a personnel adjustment of 10% in their plants, according to Spanish language publication Milenio.
Texas and Mexico officials host meeting to discuss border trade issues
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be hosting a binational meeting in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to discuss a master plan aimed at improving the facilitation of trade and travel between Mexico and Texas.
The meeting will be held from 9 a.m.-noon, October 22 in Nuevo Laredo’s Cultural Center.
The Texas-Mexico Border Transport Master Plan (BTMP) involves diagnosing transportation and trade issues along the border. Officials and stakeholders from both sides of the Texas-Mexico border will discuss the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo region and ways to improve infrastructure along the border.
The three regions TxDOT is focusing on include Laredo-Nuevo Laredo, El Paso-Ciudad Juárez and Rio Grande Valley-Tamaulipas, Mexico.
TxDOT officials have said they want to create technical working groups within each border region to focus on specific infrastructure needs.
This is the second meeting held by TxDOT to discuss the BTMP. The first meeting was held in April in Pharr, Texas, to discuss trade in the Rio Grande Valley-Tamaulipas region.
A third meeting will be held to discuss ways to improve trade and transport in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region. A date has not been set for that meeting.
Texas officials celebrate the start of the 2019-20 international fresh produce import season
State leaders and business officials recently celebrated the beginning of the 2019-20 international fresh produce season with an event at the Pharr International Bridge.
The event was held October 12 at the bridge, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border.
“The rest of [Texas], not just the Rio Grande Valley, now understands and comprehends the economic benefit the citizens of Texas receive from the trade and the work being done here by our partners in Mexico and on this side of the border,” Texas State Sen. Juan Hinojosa said during his keynote address at the event, according to the Rio Grande Guardian.
Pharr International Bridge is the number one port of entry in the nation with the importation of $35.8 billion in fresh produce, accounting for 70% of fresh produce imported from Mexico into the U.S., according to statistics from the U.S. Census and Miami-based WorldCity, which analyzes export-import data.
Auto Express Oriente purchases 50 Kenworth trucks in Mexico
Auto Express Oriente, which is based in Guadalajara, Mexico, recently purchased 50 Kenworth T680 model year 2020 trucks.
The Kenworth model T680 trucks were purchased from Kenworth’s dealership in Jalisco, Mexico. The Kenworth T680 is configured with a Cummins ISX engine.
“Auto Express has distinguished itself through the years for being a customer that cares about the renewal of its fleets to maintain their quality standards and offer high level and short service delivery times,” Ricardo Rizo, general manager of Kenworth de Jalisco, said in a release.
Auto Express Oriente is one of the oldest and largest truck operators in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. The company mainly uses Kenworth trucks, which comprise 80% of its fleet.
The company offers three modes of full truck service: domestic, import-export and freight from seaports, according to its website.