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Borderlands: Odyssey Logistics expands into Laredo

U.S Customs and Border Protection check vehicles inbound to the United States from Mexico in Laredo, Texas. (Photo: CBP)

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Odyssey Logistics opens facility in Laredo; CBP beefs up border security; Rockport Terminals acquired by Jones Capital; and train collides with tractor-trailer in Houston.

Odyssey Logistics expands into Laredo

Danbury, Connecticut-based Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corp. recently opened a trucking and logistics facility in Laredo, Texas.

Odyssey Logistics said the cross-dock facility will offer various services, including a bonded container freight station, a hub for customs transactions and a warehouse for goods waiting to clear customs.

“We’re poised for growth, so the whole facility is designed to be scalable based on the needs of our customers in the area,” Ali Bukneberg, a company spokeswoman, told FreightWaves. “To start, we’ve got a handful of team members running the 11,211-square-foot facility.”

Located in LA Ventures Airpark, the Odyssey facility is located inside a 22,483-square-foot building and includes 1,356 square feet of office space. The facility’s specifications include a Chicago-style open dock, with three dock doors for tractor-trailers and one ramp.

The facility is located at 4106 Airpark Drive, next to Laredo International Airport, as well as State Highway 59 and Loop 20.

Odyssey Logistics officials said the investment in Laredo was prompted by the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement as well as the possibility of more manufacturing nearshoring to Mexico in a wide range of industries.

“The expansion into Laredo powers up our logistics services to run door-to-door supply chain from Mexico into the U.S. with seamless control and transfer,” Bob Shellman, Odyssey Logistics president and CEO, said in a release.

According to FreightWaves SONAR data, Laredo’s outbound tender volume index (OTVI.LRD) increased mildly from a week ago, but has risen 75% year-over-year.

Chart: (SONAR: OTVI.LRD). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Odyssey Logistics is a global logistics provider, with locations in North America, Asia and Europe. The company operates in all modes of transport: truckload and less-than-truckload, container ship, rail, air and bulk, including bulk truck, ISO tank, railcar and tanker, as well as food-grade product lines.

Odyssey Logistics also has a 30,000-square-foot cross-dock distribution facility in El Paso, Texas, according to the company’s website. 

CBP aims to beef up border security technology

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently selected three companies to compete for a $480 million contract to supply drive-through imaging systems to scan tractor-trailers for contraband and potential threat items at border ports of entry.

The three finalists — Leidos, Rapiscan Systems and Smiths Detection — will initially provide one Multi-Energy Portal (MEP) scanning system to CBP.

The MEP systems are part of CBP’s plans to increase the amount of cargo being scanned that enters the U.S. at land ports of entry. CBP currently scans about 15% of commercial vehicles and 1% of passenger vehicles.

Over the next few years, CBP aims to increase the number of commercial vehicles scanned to more than 70%.

Leidos is providing the company’s VACIS IP6500 MEP, which is integrated with Viken Detection’s Oprey-EVX, a low-energy backscatter imaging technology. Viken’s Osprey-UVX under-vehicle X-ray imaging system will also be available.

“We’ve taken the approach of providing under-vehicle solutions and portal solutions for multiple partners in these programs,” Viken CEO Jim Ryan told FreightWaves. “We’ve got a pretty unique solution with the under-vehicle solution piece of it.”

In 2020, Viken Detection installed four undercarriage Osprey-UVX devices at two South Texas land ports of entry as part of a contract with CBP. Ryan said he could not disclose which ports were part of the contract, but said the pandemic slowed down installations.

The aim of the Viken’s technology is to speed up vehicle inspections with more accurate devices, Ryan said.

“For commercial traffic, inspecting underneath commercial or passenger vehicles has always been the hardest area of the vehicle to inspect,” Ryan said. “Our backscatter X-ray technology can penetrate the parts of the vehicle unable to be inspected — inside mufflers, tires, exhaust manifolds, everything underneath the vehicle — and see if there’s contraband, weapons, human trafficking occurring.” 

Rockport Terminals acquired by Jones Capital

Houston-based Jones Capital has acquired Rockport Terminals, one of the largest private intermodal terminals on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Rockport Terminals is located on the Gulf of Mexico, about 28 miles from the Port of Corpus Christi. The terminal includes access to the intracoastal waterway, nearby railways and several major highways.

Rockport Terminals specializes in bulk liquids storage, bulk and break bulk, and bulk liquids product handling.

Jones Capital is an investment firm that specializes in strategic minority equity investments in lower-middle-market businesses.

Train crashes into truck hauling exotic cars

A tractor-trailer hauling a Ferrari SF90 Stradale and other exotic cars was struck by a train while driving through Houston on Thursday afternoon.

The incident remains under investigation, but eyewitness accounts indicate that the tractor-trailer attempted to drive over a railroad crossing in northwest Houston around 3:15 p.m. and became stuck on the tracks.

The train was unable to come to a complete stop, resulting in a low-speed impact to the trailer. Nobody was injured in the collision, according to the Houston Police Department.

The tractor-trailer also was carrying a 488 Ferrari Spyder and a Porsche 911.

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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]