Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Odessa, Texas, ranked #4 city for truck drivers; New U.S. Ambassador arrives in Mexico; Surgere sets its sights on Mexico supply chains; and Love’s Travel Stops opens location in Brownsville, Texas.
Study: Odessa, Texas, ranked as #4 city nationwide for truck drivers to live
Odessa, Texas, was ranked as the number four overall city nationwide for heavy-duty and tractor-trailer truck drivers according to a new 384-city study by AdvisorSmith.
The study looked at cities across the U.S. to see how the job market is for people who drive heavy-duty and tractor-trailer trucks.
Truck drivers in Odessa earn an average of $48,010, or 5 percent more than the national average, while the cost of living is 13 percent lower than the rest of the United States, according to the study.
Odessa is located four hours west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The city’s economy has been primarily driven by oil production.
In recent years, Odessa has become a growing logistics center. The city became a major distribution center for Family Dollar in 2003 and Coca-Cola in 2007.
Odessa is also one of the stops along Entrada al Pacifico or Trade Corridor 56, which serves as the route from the Pacific Ocean port of Topolobampo in the Mexican state of Sinaloa to Texas.
According to the study, Joplin, Missouri was the number one overall city for people who drive heavy-duty and tractor-trailer trucks; followed by Danville, Illinois, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Other Texas cities to make the list include Midland, Wichita Falls, Victoria, Laredo and El Paso.
The AdvisorSmith study, which was released August 22, examined three main variables in quantifying the best cities for heavy-duty and tractor-trailer truck drivers – average annual salaries, density of jobs and cost of living.
New York City-based AdvisorSmith is an online business insurance advising firm.
New U.S. Ambassador Landau arrives in Mexico with “hand extended”
Christopher Landau, the new United States Ambassador to Mexico, officially arrived in Mexico City on August 16.
Landau’s new diplomatic role will put him at the center of continued disputes between Mexico and the U.S. on trade and immigration.
“I arrive with my hand extended,” Landau said to reporters in a press conference at the Mexico City airport August 16, according to Reuters. “Obviously, there are challenges in the bilateral relationship, but they’re the challenges expected in any close relationship.”
Landau succeeds Roberta Jacobson, a long-time diplomat who resigned and retired in distress for what she called President Trump’s “un-American” immigration policies.
Landau will be responsible for coordinating between the 40-some federal agencies that operate out of the embassy and the 11 U.S. consulates in Mexico.
The U.S. buys around 80 percent of Mexican exports – $358 billion last year. In the first quarter of 2019, Mexico became the United State’s number one commercial trading partner for the first time, ahead of Canada and China.
The governments of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are also hoping for ratification of the trade deal known as the USMCA, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico’s Senate approved the agreement in June, but U.S. and Canadian lawmakers have yet to do so.
Surgere sets up supply chain operation in Mexico
Digital supply chain and packaging specialist Surgere has set up a Mexican subsidiary, Technologias Avanzadas Surgere de Mexico, in the central Mexican city of Aguascalientes.
The location has more than 1,300 suppliers and automotive plants within a 124-mile radius, according to Surgere.
“Central Mexico is the automotive hub for Latin America, making it a natural progression, and a welcomed challenge for us,” said David Hampton, Surgere’s vice president of international operations.
Surgere is the developer of the web-based community AutoSphere – a community of automotive original equipment manufacturers and suppliers that use a common set of processes and data transactions to manage their packaging and automotive parts supply chains.
“Mexico desperately needs to support their supply chain with enhanced visibility,” Hampton said in a release. “Surgere de Mexico is the mountain peak of this technology. We look differently at the challenges Mexico’s supply chain faces and we’re excited to see our impact.”
In Mexico, the automotive industry experiences large drop-offs in visibility due to international borders, variances in customs regulations, and changing work processes, Hampton said.
“Our AutoSphere members are relying on us to provide visibility in what has been, historically, one of the most challenging places to get consistent information,” said Hampton.
The general manager of Surgere de Mexico is Javier Lomeli, who is from Aguascalientes. He brings more than 12 years of expertise in the automotive, manufacturing and sensor-based technology sectors to Surgere.
Love’s opens new travel store/truck stop near U.S.-Mexico border
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores opened a new location in Brownsville, Texas on August 9.
The new Love’s is on state highways 511 and 48, around a 30-minute drive to the United States-Mexico border.
The Brownsville location is open 24/7, and includes 39 heavy-duty truck parking spots, five diesel bays, four showers, laundry facilities, bean-to-cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks and CAT scales.
“We’re excited to now be serving customers in Texas’s southernmost town – which also is our southernmost location in all of the U.S.,” said Tom Love, executive chairman and founder of Love’s. “The new location in Brownsville is our 73rd location in Texas and we are happy to give drivers another opportunity to get the great service and products they deserve.”
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has more than 490 locations in 41 states. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company remains family-owned and operated and employs more than 25,000 people.