Border Backups Follow Trump's Closure Threat

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Far away from most American cities, and unbeknownst to most consumers, a transportation bottleneck is stemming the flow of goods from Mexico to the United States.

Major border backups plagued Mexico-U.S. crossings this week, the result of threats made last week by President Donald Trump. While the president eventually backed off after suggesting the U.S. may resort to closing the border in order to stem the flow of migrants into the country, companies didn’t waste time shoehorning as much product into trucks as possible, eager to get their goods across the border.

This, coupled with a mass transfer of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from commercial to immigration duties, sent wait times soaring. For automakers (and avocado sellers), this could be a problem.

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, Manuel Sotelo, vice president at the Mexican National Chamber of Freight Transport’s north division, said it was highly unusual to see a half-week’s worth of tractor trailers lining up at the Ciudad Juarez crossing.

On some of those trucks? Auto parts.

“The situation in Ciudad Juarez is very serious because these auto parts go to plants in the United States and obviously they put at risk the operation in the United States,” said Eduardo Solis, president of the Mexican Auto Industry Association.

Wait times at the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso crossing approached 12 hours late last week, Bloomberg reported.

Amid the shutdown talk, many voiced fears that the U.S. auto industry could grind to halt within days if the U.S. were to sever its link to vital components. Air freight, a pricey workaround to ground transport, is already being put to use by some manufacturers.

“The auto sector — and the 10 million jobs it supports — relies upon the North American supply chain and-cross border commerce to remain globally competitive,” said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in a statement. “In some instances, auto parts make several border crossings before being integrated into a vehicle’s final assembly.”

At last report, no automakers have seen their operations impacted by the border bottlenecks, but it’s a different story for those who rely on Mexican produce exports.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • Fordson Fordson on Apr 11, 2019

    Interesting how nobody has made the obvious comparison here - that if your president threatens to close down the border, everyone who needs to get across the border...rushes the border. Just like the people wanting to immigrate here, legally or illegally, or get political sanctuary or asylum, start to hear, beginning in mid-2015 that candidate Trump wants to restrict those possibilities. And now since he's been in office, saying all this stuff, we have a crush of those folks at the border. He frigging created it with his mouth. Those folks see a window of opportunity while the courts hold Trump at bay, and they figure this is their last chance to come to someplace (reasonably) stable. Remember in 2009, when that Kenyan Muslim socialist Obama was comin' tuh take muh gunz? Firearm sales went through the roof! Of course, he wasn't coming to take their guns, but let it go... Now since Trump has been in office, gunmakers domestic, European, some South American and MANY from Israel are in tough economic straits because of a sales slump. I mean, I think a reasonably intelligent herding dog gets this concept; why don't more of us get it?

    • See 1 previous
    • Fordson Fordson on Apr 11, 2019

      @ravenuer C'mon, dude - obviously I mean it ironically.

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