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Borderlands: Trucks carried 71% of all US-Mexico cargo moved in September

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Trucks carried 71% of all U.S.-Mexico cargo moved in September; a Japanese parts supplier is opening a plant in Aguascalientes; and a Texas truck driver was killed in a chain reaction wreck. 

Trucks carried 71% of all US-Mexico cargo moved in September

Trucks carried the majority of U.S.-Mexico cross-border freight during the month of September, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Cross-border trucking freight between the U.S. and Mexico totaled $38.7 billion, or 70.6% of all cross-border freight during September, up 13% compared to the same period last year.

Cross-border truck freight between the U.S. and Canada in September totaled $29.9 billion, 55% of all northern border freight.

Rail transported $7 billion worth of U.S.-Mexico freight in September, followed by ocean vessels          at $5 billion, air transport at $1.5 billion and pipelines at $1 billion.

The three busiest truck ports for cross-border freight were Port Laredo, Texas ($16.6 billion), Detroit ($8.2 billion) and El Paso/Ysleta, Texas ($5.3 billion), accounting for 43.8% of total cross-border truck freight.

The top three cross-border truck commodities during October were computers and parts ($12.9 billion), electrical machinery ($10.8 billion), and motor vehicles and parts ($7.9 billion).

China was the top international trading partner with the U.S. in September, recording two-way trade amounting to $58.3 billion. Mexico was No. 2 at $54.7 billion, followed by Canada at $54.2 billion. 

Mexico was briefly the No. 1 trading partner with the U.S. in February and April, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the commercial supply chains between the two countries.

Port Laredo remained No. 3 among the nation’s 450 airports, seaports and border crossings in September, according to WorldCity’s analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. The port’s total trade for the month was $20.8 billion

Chicago O’Hare International Airport ranked No. 1 among U.S. gateways at $27.5 billion in September, followed by the Port of Los Angeles at $26.7 billion.

Laredo’s top trading partner country for the month was Mexico, which accounted for 98% of total trade, or $20.3 billion, followed by China at $148 million and Japan at $55 million.

Laredo’s outbound tender volume index (OTVI.LRD) — a measure of shipper requests for truckload capacity — increased about 16% since the first of the month, while the outbound tender rejection index (OTRI) — the rate at which these requests are rejected by carriers — has fallen almost 20% week-over-week.

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Japanese parts supplier to open new plant in Aguascalientes

Kurabe Co. recently announced it will invest $35 million in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes to build a plant for the production of heated seats and steering wheels, generating 1,500 jobs.

Masanori Suwabe, director of Kurabe Mexico, said the plant will become one of the main production centers in the company’s global supply chain, along with the company’s facilities in Japan, Vietnam and China.

The company did not provide a timeline for the facility’s completion.

Kurabe was founded in 1938 and is headquartered in Hamamatsu, Japan. The company produces everything from auto parts to home appliances, medical equipment and industrial machines for the global market.

FleetPride acquires Jim’s Truck & Trailer Equipment

FleetPride Inc. said it has acquired the assets of Jim’s Truck & Trailer Equipment in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The new Wichita Falls branch will include the company’s 60th service center. FleetPride now has 29 locations across Texas. 

Irving, Texas-based FleetPride bills itself as the nation’s largest distributor of aftermarket truck and trailer parts and service. The company has 282 stores, 60 service centers and five distribution centers across the country. 

Texas truck driver killed in chain reaction wreck 

A truck driver from El Paso, Texas, was killed in a seven-vehicle pileup along Interstate 10, authorities said.

The victim was identified as 63-year-old Juan Lopez-Martinez. No other fatalities were reported in the incident. The accident occurred Nov. 28 on I-10 near Van Horn, Texas.

El Paso, Texas-based truck driver Juan Lopez-Martinez was killed on Nov. 28 in an accident on Interstate 10 near near Van Horn, Texas. (Photo: Culberson County Sheriff Department)

Authorities said Lopez-Martinez was driving in a construction zone with traffic slowing and merging into one lane. He was driving behind the five other vehicles involved in the wreck.

Lopez-Martinez allegedly failed to control his speed and struck another tractor-trailer, which caused the chain reaction wreck, officials said.

Eight other people were injured in the accident, with most being treated and released from a local hospital. 

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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 nmahoney@freightwaves.com