Cross-border Mexican trucking plan unveiled

| January 06, 2011

(Photo Todd Dills)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Jan. 6 offered Congress and Mexico a proposal for a cross-border Mexican trucking program that emphasizes safety and satisfies U.S. obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The proposal, which can be downloaded here, outlines the steps Mexican carriers would have to take, including a comprehensive safety audit and vetting process, before being granted access to operate in the U.S. Carriers phased in to the program would undergo several inspections and reviews as part of a monitoring process to ensure continued safe operation in the U.S.

After a pilot trucking program was terminated in March 2009, Mexican government officials responded by placing tariffs on U.S. products. Last August, Mexico added additional tariffs, for a total of 99 U.S. products.

After the ban in 2009, LaHood and other Administration officials met with lawmakers, safety advocates, industry representatives and other stakeholders to address concerns. The DOT says the initial concept document covers questions raised during that process.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had a critical reaction to the proposal. “With so much focus in Washington on creating jobs, it’s a bit shocking that the administration would pursue a program that can only rob U.S. drivers of their jobs,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president. 

“While we appreciate that the administration is proposing to allow Congress and the public to weigh in on a future trucking program with Mexico, they seem to be missing the main issue at hand,” Spencer added. “The onus is upon Mexico to raise their regulatory standards, not on the U.S. to lower ours to accommodate their trucking industry.”

The DOT says a formal proposal can be expected in the coming months followed by a public comment period.

  • Pingback: Cross-border trucking with Mexico, again | Overdrive - Owner Operators Trucking Magazine

  • Gordon Alkire

    This is a copy of a letter I sent to Senator Pat Roberts.

    Cross border trucks is not a simple problem nor is it a single problem but one with many tentacles like an octopus.

    It seems the cross border fiasco is not over and probably won’t be for some time.
    This is creating a problem. Simply put, You must understand that we do not need these trucks or drivers on our highway hauling our freight for one half of what we get.
    Unless they meet the same safety requirements we must adhere to it wont work. They must meet the same back ground check, physical requirements, drug testing and minimum requirements to drive a truck the we do in the USA.
    There is more to this Cross border trucking than meets the eye on the surface.. If these Mexican drivers are allowed to enter this country with free reign on our highways it will create animosity with the American drivers and some violence will occur.
    Something the big carriers that promote this cross border won’t tell you is that they will make millions of dollars and not with American drivers.
    Management personnel will tell you in meetings what you want to hear and will outright lie to you knowing that they will not be blamed when things are not as promised.
    Here is what is going to happen. Partly due to the CSA 2010. “Scenerio” We have a carrier that has several terminals in Mexico. Lets call it carrier A
    Carrier A sets a point limit for their drivers under the CSA 2010 system. Lets say a maximum of 45 points and your let go. NO job.
    No one will hire you due to these points on your work record. NOT the CDL . A very crappy point system. Warning tickets count and you cant fight a warning ticket in court. The American driver doesn’t stand a chance. Now for some reason this American driver meets the 45 point limit in 3 months due to random inspections. He is terminated.

    Now Carrier A that has terminals in Mexico has to put a driver in this truck that has now become driver-less.
    Enter the Mexican driver . Few qualifications and limited English skills. He is now driving this same truck that was vacated by the American driver.
    This Mexican driver is earning about 15 cents a mile as compared to the .40+ cents a mile the American driver was earning. Carrier A no longer has to pay drivers for many benefits such as safety bonus’s medical benefits, and of course the ever present tax breaks will increase their profits immensely.
    Carrier A starts the trip in Mexico with .60 cents a gallon fuel. This hurts us , the border states depriving them of fuel taxes and the American drivers and Carriers and Owner Operators that do not have the Mexican terminals advantage.
    This carrier A is now raking in millions by operating this truck on the same highways, same trailers, same customers with a non American driver. This not the American way.
    This Mexican driver does not contribute to the economy and we all suffer.
    This carrier A will now make several millions more in profits by not having an American driver behind the wheel. What they save having a foreign driver not being paid wages by US standards will reap huge profits off the backs of the unemployed American Drivers.
    Enough of the American drivers fired for CSA Points will also lead to office personnel , Mechanics and support personnel being laid off so the unemployment numbers rise. WHY. It is due to the cross border fiasco called NAFTA.

    This also brings to the forefront the embargo Mexico puts on goods. NO problem. For two weeks Nothing goes across the border to the south. Problem fixed. Calderon will see the error of his ways and lift the embargo and we will begin a real relationship with our neighbor to the south..
    Diplomacy is not keeping America working. It is not putting Americans to work. It is time to put diplomacy aside and attack the real problem.

    With Out Trucks America Stops.

    Gordon Alkire strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.