Watch Now

Borderlands: Auto parts factories creating 700 jobs in Mexico

Three U.S.-based auto parts makers are expanding their cross-border operations in Mexico. Pictured is the border crossing in Laredo, Texas. (Photo: City of Laredo)

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Automotive manufacturers are building in Mexico; FedEx Express expands in Querétaro; Dunavant Distribution expands in Houston; and agents stop over 200 people being smuggled in commercial trailers.

New auto parts plant, more manufacturing jobs for Mexico

Auto parts maker Premium Guard Inc. (PGI) recently announced plans for a $27 million plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Along with the new PGI plant, Metal Technologies Inc. and Gentherm Inc. have announced plans to expand existing facilities in Mexico.

The projects will generate about $60 million in foreign direct investment for the Mexican economy and create 695 new jobs.

PGI’s new plant in San Luis Potosí will manufacture aluminum injection products for Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen. The new plant, which will bring 270 jobs, is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2021.

San Luis Potosí is located in central Mexico, 450 miles from Laredo, Texas. PGI is a privately held company based in New York, with its main distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Auto parts supplier Gentherm (NASDAQ:THRM) announced a $6.5 million expansion of its factory in the central Mexican city of Celaya, Mexico. The expansion will add 250 jobs.

Northville, Michigan-based Gentherm makes climate-controlled seats and steering wheels, along with medical devices. Its clients include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, KIA, Toyota, Tesla, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.

Metal Technologies will invest $26 million to expand its San Luis Potosí plant, creating 175 jobs, according to a recent announcement.

Auburn, Indiana-based Metal Technologies makes metal casting and brake components for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, produced mainly for export to the United States.

Metal Technologies opened its San Luis Potosí plant in 2019 with 280 employees. The expansion of the facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.

FedEx Express completes $3M expansion in Querétaro

FedEx Express (NYSE: FDX) recently expanded its logistics and distribution operations at the Querétaro International Airport in Mexico.

The new facility totals almost 72,000 square feet and adds 173 jobs for FedEx Express in the central Mexican city of Querétaro.

FedEx is increasing its operating capacity in the region by adding 110 routes in the states of Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Zacatecas and Mexico.

Currently, FedEx Express operates a Boeing 767 at the Querétaro Intercontinental Airport that connects with a daily cargo flight from Memphis.

Since late October, FedEx Express has announced more than $40 million in investments across Mexico, including expanding facilities in León, Guanajuato and Toluca, as well as adding 6,500 part-time and full-time employees and 1,000 vehicles to its ground fleet.

Dunavant expands international supply chain services in Houston

Dunavant Distribution Group recently signed a 784,000-square-foot industrial lease at Bay Area Business Park in Pasadena, Texas.

The transaction boosts Dunavant’s space to more than 1 million square feet at the business park and allows the Memphis-based company to consolidate its Pasadena operations into a single facility, officials said.

Pasadena is located just south of Houston along the Houston Ship Channel. 

“Our continued growth of Dunavant’s distribution footprint in Houston, along with our established and advancing trucking and port services, position us well to continue serving companies who currently use or will potentially utilize the Port of Houston,” Dean Bay, Dunavant’s senior vice president of warehousing and distribution, said in a release

Agents stop over 200 people being smuggled in commercial trailers

In three separate incidents in South Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reportedly discovered more than 200 people being trafficked in commercial trailers arriving from Mexico.

The first case occurred Dec. 4, when agents stopped a tractor-trailer at a checkpoint near Freer, about 60 miles north of Laredo along Interstate 35. Agents said they discovered 138 individuals inside the trailer. All were determined to be illegally present in the U.S. 

The second incident occurred Dec. 5 at CBP’s I-35 checkpoint, 29 miles north of Laredo. CBP checked a tractor-trailer and reportedly found 80 people inside the trailer. 

“These two cases illustrate the dangerous amount of human smuggling using large commercial vehicles,” said Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for the Laredo sector. “These vehicles are not made to carry people, putting the aliens at risk of life-threatening injury and offer no protection from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.”

A third episode happened Monday at the Hebbronville Station checkpoint on State Highway 359 near Bruni, Texas. CBP intercepted a truck carrying a flatbed trailer with a reported 26 individuals hidden in a concealed compartment. 

All three cases were turned over to the Department of Homeland Security Investigation. CBP seized the tractor-trailers.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

China replaces Mexico as US top trading partner

Austin’s stretch of I-35 has worst traffic in Texas

2 women face federal terror charge over train interference

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 Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]