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New Rules Tie Up US, Mexico Border Crossing

New Rules Tie Up US, Mexico Border Crossing

Los Angeles, CA – The recent decision by Mexican Customs to drastically trim the hours of operation at the critical Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry “will help streamline the flow of international trade,” Mexican Customs officials have said, despite the fact that the move has created major gridlock.

Mexico’s Tax Administration began reducing hours in all its customs offices along the US border on July 4 in a move they said would “help them to better utilize staff, technology and infrastructure for the processing of merchandise.”

But Mexican citizens returning to Mexico with used vehicles purchased in the US through Santa Teresa say the new hours have them waiting in lines that stretch for a long as a mile for hours or even overnight to get across the border.

Drivers must hand over the vehicle title to US Customs and Border Protection for authentication at least 72 hours prior to export to prevent trafficking of stolen vehicles.

After that, the vehicle has to be exported within seven days. The increased congestion has been compounded by the fact that commercial cargo-carrying trucks going south have to share the same highway.

Inexpensive used and even damaged cars and trucks from the US and Canada are popular with Mexican consumers.

According to the Mexican Association of Automotive Dealerships, an estimated 7.5 million vehicles have been imported to Mexico since a NAFTA provision led to the border being open to vehicles in 2005. More than 226,000 were imported through May of this year, according to US Customs.

Santa Teresa, reports the Albuquerque Journal,  is the only port of entry with a lane for processing vehicles and is thus considered one of the busiest ports of entry on the US-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection officials said none of the same gridlock has been reported in ports of entry in California, Texas or Arizona.

Mexican Customs officials were not available for comment.


Union Pacific Christens New Intermodal Terminal

Santa Teresa, NM – Officials from the Union Pacific Railroad and the State of New Mexico were on-hand recently to officially christen the rail carrier’s new $400 million, 300-acre rail facility in Santa Teresa.

The facility sits on a 2,200 tract of land purchased by the UP and is located near the city’s three industrial parks and the Santa Teresa port of entry.

The new terminal includes one of Union Pacific’s largest fueling facilities and the railroad’s largest intermodal freight terminal along the US-Mexico border.

The high-tech intermodal terminal opened April 1 and is expected to process more than 170,000 freight containers this year. It is to be expanded in future years to eventually handle 700,000 containers a year.

Union Pacific generated about $4 billion in intermodal business last year — 20 percent of its total freight sales of $20.7 billion.

The state Legislature’s passage of a bill exempting Union Pacific from paying locomotive fuel tax was a key piece to get Union Pacific to build the facility, officials said. That bill was signed by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in March 2011. Construction began in the summer of that year.

A series of land swaps between the state, the federal government, and the Union Pacific allowed the railroad to acquire the 2,200 acres in Santa Teresa, most of it owned by the Bureau of Land Management, according to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.