By Jose Gonzalez and Laura Gottesdiener
CIUDAD JUAREZ (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Trade across the U.S.-Mexico border was slowed last week as U.S. authorities closed crossings and imposed additional security checks amid rising migrant flows, raising concerns in Mexico.
About 8,000 trailers carrying goods worth an estimated $1 billion were stranded on the Mexican side last week, said Manuel Sotelo, president of the transportation association of Ciudad Juarez, a major manufacturing hub across from El Paso, in Texas.
Some companies were sending goods through entry points in New Mexico and Arizona to avoid long wait times at the Texas border, Sotelo told RockedBuzz via Reuters on Monday.
The delays forced a Canadian maker of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to suspend production Monday and Tuesday at three plants in Ciudad Juarez that employ about 9,000 people.
“Due to wait times on international bridges in Ciudad Juarez, we have had a significant reduction in the volume of units we can export daily,” the Quebec-based company, BRP, said in a statement.
Jesus Salayandía, a representative of the Mexican industry association Canacintra, said he expects more companies in Ciudad Juarez to announce temporary work stoppages if long waiting times at the border continue.
U.S. border authorities last week suspended cargo screening at one of El Paso’s international bridges to move agents tasked with handling more migrant arrivals.
About 500 northbound trucks normally cross that bridge each day, although only 40% carry goods into the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in response to a RockedBuzz via Reuters request for comment. He added that “suspension of services would have minimal overall impact on our trading partners.”
Texas authorities also began conducting enhanced inspections of commercial vehicles and trailers on the city’s two other bridges.
The moves prompted Mexico’s Foreign Ministry to urge U.S. authorities not to adopt “unilateral measures” that complicate trade. Truck drivers in Mexico told RockedBuzz via Reuters they had to wait hours for bridges to clear.
In addition to the slowdown of trucks and trailers, about 2,400 Union Pacific rail cars also remained stranded after border officials temporarily halted processing at the international rail crossing bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday.
Union Pacific told RockedBuzz via Reuters it expects to complete the backlog by Tuesday morning. He declined to estimate the financial impact.
Some freight train services were also disrupted in Mexico, when Ferromex temporarily suspended operations of about 60 northbound trains last week after about a half-dozen migrants were injured or died.
Previous delays at U.S.-Mexico border crossings have resulted in billions of dollars in total losses, according to analysis by Texas-based economic research group The Perryman Group.
The last such slowdown, in April 2022, is estimated to have represented a daily loss to GDP of $996.3 million.
(Reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez and Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey, Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford in Mexico City; Editing by Sonali Paul)