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US-Mexico shippers face delays after Laredo crossing closed

Posted on 24 May 2017
US-Mexico shippers face delays after Laredo crossing closed

Shippers moving cargo between the US and Mexico through the Laredo border crossing can expect delays after authorities on both sides of the border closed the largest US-Mexico truck crossing point there due to severe wind and rain damage sustained Sunday.

The World Trade International Bridge linking Laredo, Texas with Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas was closed Monday “due to power outages, flooding, and structural damage sustained from heavy rains and high winds on Sunday,” according to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statement. While the closure is temporary, Customs gave no indication when the bridge would be reopened.

Traffic is being rerouted to the Laredo–Colombia Solidarity International Bridge, 18 miles west of the World Trade Bridge. The detour via the Solidarity Bridge should add some time to shipments as the bridge carries both pedestrian as well as commercial and noncommercial traffic. The Solidarity Bridge is at least a half-hour’s drive away from the World Trade Bridge.

CBP and Servicio de Administracion Tributaria (SAT), which handles Mexican customs operations, said Monday they are working to resume business as usual over the World Trade Bridge, and have promised to prioritize perishable and medical-related shipments as truck lanes become operational.

Local reports and images from the scene Monday still showed trucks flipped on their sides and visible damage to the bridge facilities. Power was also knocked out in several cities on either side of the border during Sunday’s storm, though power was being restored Monday.

Unlike the Solidarity Bridge, the World Trade Bridge is exclusively for commercial cargo traffic. It is the busiest US-Mexico crossing point and has only been getting busier. The US facility processes more than 12,000 cargo vehicles per day. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2.1 million trucks used the crossing in 2016 alone, up 3.4 percent from the year prior.