For the second straight month, international truck crossings dropped dramatically at ports across Texas.
The World Trade and Colombia Solidarity bridges in Laredo, Texas, saw 68,473 fewer commercial truck crossings from Mexico in May compared with May 2019, according to the city of Laredo.
The 33% decline in truck traffic at Port Laredo was the second consecutive month of double-digit declines, with international crossings falling 21% in April.
Laredo had a total of 142,144 truck crossings in May, compared with 210,617 during the same time last year. Laredo’s bridge revenue for May was $3.72 million, down 38.4% from $6.05 million in May 2019.
Other ports of entry in Texas registering declines in U.S.-Mexico truck crossings were the Del Rio-Acuña port of entry at -41%; the Brownsville port of entry at -36%; and the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and the Eagle Pass port of entry, both falling 7%.
The Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, did not have commercial truck data available for May. In April, El Paso saw a 27% decline in commercial truck crossings from Mexico.
Analysts said Mexico’s closure of auto assembly and component plants due to the pandemic has hampered supply chains across North America, which has led to decreases in cross-border freight.
“In Mexico and the United States, the biggest risk we see right now is not on a regional level, because no one wants to go back to statewide or nationwide shutdowns, but on a county level, and plant plan level,” said Mirko Woitzik, a risk intelligence manager for consulting firm Resilience360.
Mirko said supply chain professionals in the automotive production industry in North America and Europe should prepare for further disruptions in the coming weeks and months.
The closure of a Fiat-Chrysler plant in Detroit on Saturday because of fears of a coronavirus outbreak is an example of the type of disruptions the automotive supply chain could see in coming months, Mirko said.
“The company had to shut down for one or two days just to disinfect everything, send workers that have been in contact with the ones infected home. So we see the biggest risk for disruptions on that level,” Mirko said.
Plants in the U.S. have been halted for 55.5 days on average, compared to a European plant average of 43.97 days, according to data from Resilience360.
In the U.S., original equipment manufacturer (OEM) plants in Tennessee were on average halted the longest, at more than 60 days. Plants in Alabama were halted the shortest period of time, an average of 43 days.
In Mexico, OEM plants have been halted an average of 67 days, likely due to the two-month lockdown imposed by the government. Most car makers resumed operations only in June.
Nissan Mexico recently announced it was laying off 200 workers at its manufacturing plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Woitzik said there could be more layoffs, but it is unlikely that Mexico will see suppliers or OEMs going bankrupt.
“A lot of those suppliers are Mexican subsidiaries of German companies, or global suppliers, so there’s maybe not a whole lot of Mexican suppliers per se,” Woitzik said.