Watch Now

Borderlands: Laredo airport expanding cargo facilities; Texas CBP seizes $821M in drugs in FY 2020

Laredo City Council recently OK’d a venture to develop nearly 75 acres at Laredo International Airport to facilitate increasing the airport’s cargo processing capacity. (Photo: Laredo International Airport)

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Laredo airport expanding cargo facilities; CBP seizes $821M in drugs; LubeZone acquires All Star Truck; Mesilla Valley Transportation signs Winmore.

Laredo airport aims to expand air cargo capacity

Laredo, Texas, is the No. 1 commercial land port in the United States, and authorities recently approved a project they hope could be the beginning of making the city’s airport No. 1 as well.

The Laredo City Council OK’d a venture to develop nearly 75 acres at Laredo International Airport. The project will include cargo, logistics and general aviation infrastructure to facilitate growing freight flow at the South Texas airport.

“Despite the challenging global environment of COVID-19, airport leadership is pushing forward to have Laredo International Airport continue to play its vital role in making Laredo one of the top trade ports in the U.S.,” said Henry Cisneros, chairman and co-founder of American Triple I Partners (ATI), in a release.  

Cisneros is a former mayor of San Antonio and served as the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1993-97.

The 75-acre parcel is being developed in a joint venture between New York-based ATI and Laredo-based Aviation Facilities Company Management (AFCO).

Officials with ATI and AFCO did not provide specifics on their proposed project nor how much it would cost.

The venture between ATI and AFCO was approved Oct. 21 by the Laredo City Council, which also gave the greenlight to develop approximately an additional 1,000 acres combined around the airport, aimed at expanding the city’s air cargo traffic.

Laredo City Manager Robert Eads said the new project could be transformational for the airport.

“I liken this to not just building a new bridge for the city of Laredo. I liken this to when we built the first bridge,” Eads said, according to the Laredo Morning Times.

Laredo International Airport handled 680 million pounds of air cargo during 2018, according to the Laredo Economic Development Corp. The airport is located on 1,800 acres and has more than 200,000 square feet of dedicated air freight facilities.

Scheduled air cargo service is currently provided by UPS and FedEx, with more than 30 air cargo charter operators offering on-demand service. 

Laredo International Airport is the only airport on the U.S.-Mexico border with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week pre-inspection cargo processing services provided jointly by U.S. and Mexican customs.

The airport also recently announced the addition of Mexican airline Aeromar, which will provide nonstop flights from Laredo to Mexico City International Airport.

CBP seizes $821M in drugs across Texas ports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in South Texas has seized $821 million worth of narcotics and contraband in fiscal year 2020, including a 160% increase in weapons and a 107% spike in methamphetamine. 

CBP officers at eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville to Del Rio seized 125,307 pounds of narcotics that would have commanded a combined estimated street value of well over $800 million. 

The narcotics seized include:

  • 82,524 pounds of marijuana.
  • 37,477 pounds of methamphetamine (up 107% from FY 2019).
  • 4,328 pounds of cocaine.
  • 944 pounds of heroin.
  • $9.2 million in unreported currency (up 31% from FY 2019).
  • 315 weapons (up 160% from FY 2019).
  • 79,887 rounds of ammunition.

Fiscal year 2020 began Oct. 1, 2019, and ended Sept. 30, 2020. 

“Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic our frontline CBP officers continued to maintain a robust border security posture at South Texas ports of entry, seizing significant amounts of drugs and other contraband, particularly methamphetamine and weapons,” said Randy J. Howe, director of field operations at the Laredo field office.

CBP’s Laredo field office’s eight ports of entry include Laredo, Roma, Del Rio, Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, Rio Grande City and Progreso.

LubeZone acquires All Star Truck 

LubeZone Inc. recently announced the purchase of All Star Truck in Houston.

Officials with LubeZone said the acquisition serves to strengthen the company’s presence in the Houston trucking market, while expanding its service offerings for both fleet partners and drive-up customers with heavy-duty trucks. 

“Our vision of becoming a fully integrated commercial truck service organization that can service our customers coast-to-coast has taken a major step forward with the addition of All Star Truck Services Corp.,” Glenn Sherburne, CEO of LubeZone Inc., said in a release

Houston-based All Star Truck offers bumper-to-bumper service on trucks, tractor-trailers and other fleet vehicles. The company also offers mobile preventative maintenance on trucks, including lights and signals, tires, air and power supply, oil, lube, and cooling, refrigeration systems, and trailer connections. 

LubeZone officials did not disclose the price of All Star Truck’s acquisition.

Minneapolis-based LubeZone, founded in 2017, is a national provider of high speed preventative maintenance solutions to the commercial transportation industry. The company has 11 locations in California, Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia.

While the LubeZone name is new, many of its locations have been around for more than 20 years. Since 2018, LubeZone has acquired TrucKing, B-Line Lube Centers and Profleet Truck Lube Centers. 

All Star Truck will continue to operate under its existing name.

Mesilla Valley Transportation signs on with Winmore

Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) recently signed a contract with cloud-based solutions provider Winmore, aimed at helping the trucking company win more requests for proposals (RFPs), build customer relationships at scale and increase efficiencies.

Winmore’s RFP Collaboration software will allow MVT to qualify bids, make its bid desk more efficient and improve overall win rates by aligning pricing, business development and carrier strategies with marketing and legal teams, Bumper Jones, COO of MVT, said in a release

“Winmore will help us with the alignment of our overall corporate vision, as we expand and bring MVT entities together including Verde Logistics, MGB, Border International and more,” Jones said.

Las Cruces, New Mexico-based MVT is a dry freight carrier specializing in time-sensitive service between manufacturing centers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. MVT has more than 1,600 trucks and 6,000 trailers. 

Unveiled earlier this year, San Francisco-based Winmore’s RFP Collaboration software is aimed at helping freight forwarders and freight brokers streamline, accelerate and optimize their bid and tender response processes, and accelerate customer acquisitions.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

What a Trump or Biden win means for Mexico trade

Rail blockade ends in Mexico

$1 billion Mexico-Canada rail link proposed

Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]