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FMCSA Expands Program: Mexico Trucks in the United States

Mexico USA little more than three years ago, FMCSA created a pilot program with 13 Mexico trucking companies. The pilot evaluated the safety and feasibility of allowing Mexico trucks to operate within the United States. On January 9, 2015, FMCSA announced the end of the pilot and the beginning of a permanent program. The announcement leaves many shippers asking themselves, “What does this change mean for me?” Here’s what you should know.

 

If you’re working with one of the 13 companies from the pilot…

The participants from the pilot program will automatically be granted permanent authority to operate within the United States. Nothing should change for these carriers and you can expect business to continue as normal.

You may be particularly interested in this program if…

Companies with regular freight both inbound and outbound to points in Mexico will find this change to be most advantageous. In my experience, the most benefit is achieved when two complementary organizations with opposite freight flows in similar lanes can be paired together to help carriers reduce deadheads, which in turn keeps costs down.

Good news for punitive produce tariffs…

Many shippers experienced punitive produce tariffs as the Mexican government used them to pressure the U.S. government into starting the pilot program. The threat of any additional punitive tariffs on produce is reduced because there is no need for Mexico to apply additional pressure on the United States.

The program still has some limitations…

The limits of the program may keep many Mexico carriers from participating:

  • Carriers cannot haul freight between two points within the United States.
  • The farther into the United States a carrier travels, the higher the risk of empty return miles.
  • Long transits often require a 34-hour rest break within the U.S.
  • Carriers face additional overhead to comply with U.S. regulatory and safety compliance standards.

Overall, don’t count on a great deal of additional direct capacity into the United States from Mexico. When the opportunity to work with a direct carrier aligns with your business needs, the program may provide a straightforward, uncomplicated way to cross the Mexico border.

What’s your experience with crossing the Mexico border? Can you see yourself working with a Mexico carrier for direct loads into the United States? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.