Amid lawsuits, Mexican pilot program plods on

As lawsuits continue against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico, the agency is continuing the program as-intended, granting two more carriers operating authority in the U.S. since mid-October, upping the total number of participants to nine.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia scheduled oral arguments for Dec. 6 in the consolidated case, brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, Teamsters, Public Citizen and Sierra Club to halt the program.

In the same court, OOIDA filed separate litigation regarding the National Registry of Medical Examiners after the agency’s April 20 final rule establishing the registry. The association argued the FMCSA is not authorized to permit Mexican drivers to operate in the United States without a current valid medical certificate issued by a registry examiner.

Before the final rule was published, the agency had argued the issue was irrelevant because the registry had not been established.

On Oct. 22, the court rejected OOIDA’s request to schedule oral arguments so both cases would be heard at the same time and before the same judges. In the registry lawsuit, FMCSA’s respondent’s brief is due Nov. 19 and the association’s reply brief deadline is Dec. 3.

The new participants in the cross-border program are Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV, which has four drivers and two trucks and GCC Transportes SA de CV, which has seven drivers and 13 vehicles.

Transportes Olympic, the first carrier to receive authority through the program, became the first participant to have a violation under the program. FMCSA records indicate a 22 minute hours of service violation Oct. 15.

Thirteen other carriers have applications pending in the program. Agency officials have dismissed three more applicants and seven others have withdrawn applications.

Ten carriers with revenues from $90 million to $220 million lead Mexico’s trucking industry,   according to an Armstrong & Associates, a supply chain management market research and consulting firm.

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The largest Mexican trucking company is Autotransportes de Carga Tres Guerras, with 563 tractors and 93 straight trucks handling general freight, including less-than-truckload and packages.  Other major companies include TUM, Jaguar, TMM, Trans-Mex (Swift) and Ryder, according to an Oct. 17 Armstrong report.

U.S. and international companies with strong roles in Mexican logistics, include DHL/Exel, Werner and Ryder, which are involved in value-added warehousing, transportation management and trucking.

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