U.S. Customs and Border Protection calls Texas border stoppage ‘unnecessary’

April 13, 2022

Chuck Robinson


U.S. Customs and Border Protection calls Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s stepped-up inspection decree unnecessary to safeguard the safety and security of Texas communities.

“These unnecessary inspections are occurring when vehicles exit U.S. ports of entry within the El Paso and Laredo areas of operation after being comprehensively inspected and cleared to enter the United States by (Customs and Border Patrol),” reads an April 12 statement from the federal agency. “As a result, vehicles have been significantly delayed in exiting the federal inspection plaza, leading to traffic disruptions and critical impacts to an already-strained supply chain.”

Abbott announced taking aggressive action to secure the border on April 6 in protest of the Biden administration’s decision to curtail Title 42 expulsions, a Trump administration policy that prevented most asylum seekers from applying for protection at the U.S. border with Mexico.

“The Biden administration’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous cartels and deadly drugs to pour into the United States,” Abbott said.

Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross international ports of entry into Texas. The order added a layer of inspections for commercial truckers on top of inspections conducted by federal Customs and Border Patrol at the bridge and on Texas highways.

On Monday, truck drivers on the Mexican side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on the border began protesting Abbott’s decree, bringing commercial traffic to a standstill at the port of entry.

The state’s additional inspections have been conducted on vehicles exiting ports of entry at El Paso and Laredo, Customs and Border Patrol noted. The result has been significant delays, traffic disruptions, and critical damage to an already-strained supply chain.

“Local trade associations, officials, and businesses are requesting the Texas state government discontinue their additional border truck inspection process because it is not necessary to protect the safety and security of Texas communities and is resulting in significant impacts to local supply chains that will impact consumers and businesses nationally,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated.

Effect on Spot Rates

It is difficult to directly connect higher inspection rates and slowdowns at the border to higher load-to-truck ratios and spot pricing. However, some DAT RateView data is worthy of observation.

The van load-to-truck ratio in Laredo, Texas, averaged 16.2 over last seven days, while McAllen, Texas, averaged 24.1. McAllen neighbors Pharr.

These ratios indicate high demand relative to other markets in the U.S. Spot van loads from Laredo to Dallas averaged $3.66 a mile last week (including fuel), 11 cents better than the March average, according to DAT RateView. McAllen to Dallas averaged $3.13 a mile.

At a time when van spot rates are declining across much of the country, these key markets in Texas are experiencing a surge.

Major produce port of entry

The Pharr port of entry is a major entry point for produce from Mexico.

While the port lists TVs and computer monitors as its top import into the U.S. ($2.31 billion in 2020), in second place are avocados, dates, figs, pineapples, etc. ($1.43 billion), according to a report provided by the Pharr International Bridge.

Other leading produce imports in 2020: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc. (989.04 million); Tomatoes, fresh or chilled ($592.72 million); and peppers, asparagus, squash, etc. ($428.02 million).

For the month of February 2022, imports of strawberries and blueberries were the top import at $46.6 million year to date, and avocados, dates, figs and pineapples were the second top import at $354.68 million.

Some produce importers in Texas said they have waited days for their goods to arrive and already had buyers cancel orders, the Texas Tribune reported Monday. LL

More Land Line Media news from the state of Texas is available.