The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today officially announced the U.S. border is now open to Mexican domiciled trucks participating in the cross-border trucking pilot program.
Free Trade Alliance San Antonio lauds the DOT and their counterpart in Mexico, the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) for moving forward and implementing this program. In 2006, the Alliance, together with the Mexican Foreign Trade Council (COMCE) and with the support of Port San Antonio, initially proposed the pilot program to the DOT as a way to demonstrate how cross-border trucking can move cargo safely and efficiently back and forth between Mexico and the U.S.
The current drayage system of transferring goods from the truck of one country to that of the other, is currently estimated to cost consumers $400 million each year. Companies will further benefit by allowing them to improve just-in-time deliveries, reduce safety stocks and better respond to consumer demand. Consumers and companies on both sides of the border will benefit from this program and make our region more competitive in a global market.
As San Antonio is geographically positioned at the crossroads of Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade, our community is set to additionally benefit from cross-border trucking operations with Mexico, as we are able to consolidate and distribute goods throughout North America. A successful cross-border trucking pilot program will assist San Antonio in becoming a greater competitive international trade center, resulting in more jobs for our community.
The pilot program will allow up to 100 Mexican and 100 United States trucking companies to participate. Before participating, all companies must first meet rigorous U.S. safety standards and regulations. In addition, Mexican trucking companies must provide proof of insurance and drivers must be able to communicate in English.
The implementation of a cross-border trucking pilot program brings us one step closer to meeting our obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The cross-border trucking provisions were originally scheduled to be implemented in December of 1995 under the terms of NAFTA. However, due to a variety of political and legal delays they have not been implemented until now.