Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Mexico remains top US trade partner in August, Laredo No. 1 gateway; Eden Green begins $40M vertical farming expansion near Dallas; Production, exports of Mexican-built trucks fall for second straight month; and Port of Brownsville receives $11.5M to overhaul cargo dock.
Mexico remains top US trade partner in August, Laredo No. 1 gateway
For the fourth consecutive month, Mexico was the No. 1 trading partner of the U.S., totaling $70.8 billion in August.
It’s the seventh time in the past eight months that Mexico ranked No. 1, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
During August, Canada ranked No. 2 at $66.2 billion in trade, while China ranked third at $47.5 billion.
Mexico’s trade with the U.S. was $532.7 billion through the first eight months of 2023, a year-over-year (y/y) increase of 2.4% from the same period in 2022, according to a WorldCity analysis of Census Bureau data.
Laredo, Texas, retained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade in August with $28.6 billion, according to WorldCity. It was the seventh straight month the Laredo border crossing was the country’s top-ranked international commercial trade port.
The Port of Los Angeles ranked No. 2 with $27.1 billion and Chicago O’Hare International Airport was No. 3 , reporting $25.4 billion in trade.
The top 3 imports from Mexico to the U.S. through Laredo in August were auto parts ($2.4 billion), passenger vehicles ($1.3 billion) and commercial trucks ($1 million).
The top exports from the U.S. to Mexico were auto parts ($1.5 billion), gasoline ($326 million) and diesel engines ($272 million).
Since 2018, truckload demand has nearly doubled out of the Laredo port of entry, which includes the World Trade Bridge and the Colombia Solidarity Bridge. FreightWaves’ SONAR platform shows that Laredo’s outbound tender market share (OTMS.LRD) is currently 0.566% of the overall freight market, compared to 0.321% in 2018.
The Outbound Tender Market Share index measures the percentage of outbound tenders relative to all the other 135 markets in the U.S.
While Laredo’s current value may be low compared to other markets, FreightWaves market expert Zach Strickland recently wrote, “the rising trend is more important than the current value in this situation.”
“Truckload demand has nearly doubled out of the border town Texas markets of Laredo and McAllen since 2018,” Strickland said. “Phoenix has experienced a similar developmental boom, becoming a proxy for California’s old warehousing capital in Southern California’s Inland Empire. This shifting demand pattern is changing transportation networks and will subsequently impact future pricing structures.”
Eden Green begins $40M vertical farming expansion near Dallas
Company officials said the expansion is aimed at scaling commercial production to meet rising market demand.
“Extreme weather events, an unstable market and an ever-rising demand for fresh, affordable produce year round has created a perfect storm in our food supply chain,” Eddy Badrina, CEO of Eden Green Technology, said in a news release. “Eden Green was founded to solve these challenges and this next phase of growth is a critical stepping stone.”
The $40 million expansion includes the construction of two additional greenhouses in Cleburne. Both facilities are expected to open in early 2025 and create 100 jobs.
The company currently has two vertical greenhouses totaling more than 100,000 square feet, which grow lettuce and other fresh produce and herbs.
Eden Green’s long-term plans are to build a network of 20 greenhouses across the U.S. over the next five years.
The company also announced the hiring of Will Parkey as chief financial officer. Parkey will be responsible for leading financial operations and driving the company’s strategic expansion.
Production, exports of Mexican-built trucks fall for second straight month
Mexico’s monthly truck production declined 8% y/y in September to 17,344 units, according to data from Mexico’s National Association of Bus, Truck and Tractor Producers (ANPACT).
Exports declined 9% y/y in September to 14,151 units. The U.S. was the overwhelming destination for trucks produced in Mexico during September, accounting for 96% of exports, followed by Canada at 2.4% and Colombia at about 1%.
Freightliner was the top truck producer and exporter in Mexico during September. The company built 10,083 trucks, a 7% y/y decrease, and exported 9,185 units, a 5% y/y decline.
International Trucks Inc. produced 4,719 units in September, a 21% y/y decrease, and exported 4,465, a 16% y/y rise.
The 10 truck makers and two engine producers in Mexico that are members of ANPACT are Freightliner, Kenworth, Navistar, Hino, International, DINA, MAN SE, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Scania, Cummins and Detroit Diesel.
Port of Brownsville receives $11.5M to overhaul cargo dock
The project to reconstruct cargo dock 3 at the port will consist of three stages, including demolition of the existing dock, the acquisition of steel piles to provide structural support for the new dock and the construction phase.
The Port of Brownsville is about 277 miles south of San Antonio at the southernmost tip of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico and is a major trade facility between the U.S. and Mexico.
Cargo dock 3 began operations in the 1940s and was key for the shipment of agricultural commodities in the region. Today, cargo dock 3 is utilized for general bulk cargo movements.
Officials for the port did not provide a timeline for the completion of the project.
More articles by Noi Mahoney
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