Borderlands: Port Laredo No. 1 for US-Mexico agricultural trade, report shows

From Freight Waves | 31 January 2023

Overview of fruits from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 29, 2023. 

Port Laredo No. 1 for US-Mexico agricultural trade, report shows

Fueled by produce shipments traveling via trucks and rail, the Laredo customs district was the top U.S.-Mexico border port of entry (POE) for agricultural trade from January through October 2022.

The Laredo customs district handled 49% of U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and 52% of imports from Mexico during the first 10 months of the year.

The findings are part of a recent Department of Agriculture report titled “U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade Logistics Review.”

“Along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Laredo district handles most agricultural trade in both directions,” the report said. “A mix of factors, including established industry supply chains, a higher number of commercial crossings with infrastructure to handle food and agricultural products and the district’s proximity to the largest population centers and key markets in both countries all help to explain its lead role in cross-border trade.”

The Laredo customs district encompasses nine entry points across South Texas, including Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Rio Grande City, Roma, Edinburg Airport, Progreso, Valley International Airport in Harlingen and Brownsville.

Some of the top agricultural goods passing through Laredo include avocados, tomatoes, lemons, limes, mangos, broccoli, peppers, berries, lettuce, bulk grains and oilseeds, as well as frozen fruit and vegetables.

While about 38% of U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade flowed through the Laredo customs district in the first 10 months of 2022, the gateway in Nogales, Arizona, remains the single largest port of entry for produce, accounting for 30%, followed by the Port of Otay Mesa, California, at 17%.

U.S.-Mexico trade of fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen commodities mainly relies upon cross-border trucking, while trade of bulk grains and oilseeds mainly counts on rail and ocean freight through the Gulf of Mexico.

“In 2022 (January-October), 75% by volume and 86% by value of U.S. agricultural product exports to Mexico were shipped overland via the U.S.-Mexico border,” the report said. “Ports in New Orleans, Houston-Galveston, and Mobile accounted for the remaining 24% of volume and 13% of value. For northbound trade, Mexico’s exports to the U.S. are more heavily oriented toward overland shipments.”

The report indicated that Mexico is the largest customer for U.S. agricultural exports and will continue to be in the near future.

The U.S. held a 64% market share of all agricultural and related exports to Mexico in 2021; while 81% of Mexico’s total agricultural exports went to the United States.

all commodities volumes 4

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“In 2022 year-to-date, the European Union, Canada, Brazil, and Chile were distant competitors to the U.S. in their agricultural exports to Mexico,” the report said. “It deserves emphasizing that while Mexico conducts robust and diverse trade with the world, no competitor can match logistical advantages of the nearly 2,000-mile land border with multiple commercial POEs and the ability to land bulk products by oceangoing vessel at relatively competitive rates.”

Commercial truck crossings in Laredo totaled 2.6 million vehicles in 2022; while loaded rail containers totaled 293,083.

As of Friday, the freight truck market in Laredo was down about 2% in outbound load volume (OTVI.LRD) week over week, but up 5% since Wednesday. On a year over year basis, Laredo’s outbound load volume is down 3%.

Laredo’s outbound tender rejection (OTRI.LRD) rate for trucks dropped over the last week and was just under 5% as of Friday, signaling that capacity loosened in the market.

RJW Logistics to open shipping hub near Dallas, creating 225 jobs

Illinois-based RJW Logistics Group is expanding operations into Texas with a new 600,000-square-foot warehouse and adding 225 jobs, according to a news release.

The facility will be located in Mesquite, about 14 miles from downtown Dallas, and serve as RJW’s logistics hub in the South for its customers in the consumer packaged goods space.

“Establishing an operational hub in Dallas supports our ability to more effectively meet the needs of our existing customer base and onboard new CPG suppliers in a growing region,” CEO Kevin Williamson said in a statement.

The new logistics hub, scheduled to be completed in March, will be located at the Alcott Logistics Station, a 100 acre multibuilding business park.

RJW Logistics Group is a logistics provider specializing in less-than-truckload consolidation services designed for CPG suppliers to retailers. RJW provides asset-based transportation, logistics and warehousing solutions.

Major logistics facility set for border city of Nuevo Laredo 

The Laredo, Texas-based Palos Garza Group recently began construction of a new 155,000-square-foot logistics facility in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, according to Mexico Industry.

It will be a bonded warehouse, which is a facility operated by a private company in a foreign nation under the regulatory supervision of that country’s customs agency. Its main advantage is the deferment of customs duty payments.

The facility will include 44 truck bays and 56 parking spaces for trailers and 206 parking spaces for tractors.

The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Additional phases of the project will include the construction of a three-story office and two temperature-controlled warehouses for refrigerated and perishable products. Construction of those is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Nuevo Laredo is located directly across the U.S.-Mexico border from Laredo.

The Palos Garza Group is a logistics company that offers services in transportation, supply chain, customs brokering and warehousing.

Japanese AC manufacturer investing $300M in Mexico

Japan-based Daikin recently began a $300 million project to construct two new plants in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, according to Milenio.

Both factories will be located in the Millennium Industrial Park, creating 2,750 jobs. One factory will manufacture ductless mini-split air conditioning units, while the other will produce commercial chillers, equipment that generates the chilled water used in the AC process.

With these two new plants, in addition to current facilities, the company will consolidate the new Daikin Campus in Mexico.

Daikin will also use the facilities to create a research and development hub aimed at boosting its global supply chains.

Daikin is a global manufacturer of air conditioning and HVAC products with North American headquarters in Houston.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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