Overdrive Staff | November 01, 2011

Cross-border program starts

Mexico had approved three U.S. carriers to deliver beyond its border by Oct. 21, when the first Mexican carrier crossed into Laredo, Texas, marking the beginning of the cross-border pilot program with Mexico and the end of retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

The cross-border pilot trucking program with Mexico is officially under way after the initial Mexican carrier received approval to operate in the United States.

Mexican and U.S. officials gathered at the World Trade Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, for the event. Transportes Olympic hauled a drilling tower destined for Garland, Texas, according to Mexico’s Secretary of Communication and Transportation. Monterrey-based Transportes Olympic has been approved for two trucks and two drivers.

The Oct. 21 delivery beyond the commercial border zone highlighted the end of more than two years of tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on 99 U.S. goods. On July 8 Mexico dropped half the tariffs and promised to end the remaining tariffs five days after the first Mexican carrier received operating authority.

On Oct. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General announced it was beginning its interim report to Congress on the pilot program, in accordance with 2007 law.

Its audit objectives will be to decide if it will have sufficient data to determine if the program reduces trucking safety and if monitoring and enforcement activities can ensure program compliance. The OIG will also measure if program participants are a representative and adequate sample of Mexican carriers that would seek cross-border operations.

All trucks that participate in the program will carry GPS-capable electronic onboard recorders to ensure hours-of-service compliance and to monitor trucks to and from assigned U.S. destinations.

Also, FMCSA will review the driving records of each driver and require U.S. labs to analyze all drug testing samples before that driver receives approval.

OOIDA has filed to stop the program in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court rejected its request for an emergency stay of the program, but will schedule oral arguments following the completion of brief filings, with the last brief due by Dec. 5.

The Teamsters union and Public Citizen also have petitioned a federal appeals court to review the agency’s plans to proceed with the program.

— Jill Dunn


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