Members of a Mexican truck drivers union announced they will block World Trade Bridge III, which connects commercial cargo between Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.
The blockade from the Border Union of Operators of Nuevo Laredo members is to protest what they say are increasingly longer wait times and inadequate service they experience hauling goods through the South Texas border crossing.
Juan Antonio García Fuentes, president of the union, said the longer wait times are being caused by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) review process at the Laredo port of entry.
Drivers on the Mexican side of the border say they are waiting up to three hours in lines that stretch more than 12 miles. Fuentes said the longer wait times are affecting the income of union drivers, who are hauling fewer loads because they spend hours waiting to cross the border.
Armando Taboada, assistant director of CBP field operations at the Laredo Field Office, said if protesters block the bridge on Saturday, commercial truck traffic will be diverted to the nearby Colombia Solidarity Bridge.
“We will have proper staff there to process incoming shipments and Colombia is well equipped to handle the truck volume,” Taboada said in an email Thursday.
Taboada added CBP is addressing border wait times and monitoring primary booth processing and the number of lanes available at Texas ports of entry.
“Truck wait times have increased but are due to the following: incorrect carrier/driver information on automated commercial environment (ACE) transactions; ACE issues on driver information; [and an] increase in number of shipments,” Taboada said.
Other issues CBP has encountered from Mexican carriers include tractor-trailers with incorrect plates or missing plates, as well as tractors that have two plates and only one on e-manifest, Taboada said.
The Laredo port of entry is the No. 1 inland port along the U.S.-Mexico border, accounting for $231.58 billion in imports and exports in 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.
More than 1.8 million commercial trucks crossed the World Trade Bridge from January to July, down 6% compared to the same period in 2019.
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