Shipments of U.S. poultry are getting caught up in delays at Mexico’s border after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered increased inspections of north-bound trucks, spurring protests by Mexican truckers who blocked southbound traffic.
The situation is particularly bad for U.S. poultry because shipments to Mexico are transferred from U.S. trucks to Mexican trucks on the U.S. side of the border, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council President Jim Sumner tells Agri-Pulse. And that means that the Mexican truckers are encountering massive delays getting to the waiting trucks full of U.S. poultry.
A normal 30-minute border crossing has turned into a 7- to 9-hour wait at some border crossings, which is causing some shipments to rot before they can get to Mexican processors, importers are telling USAPEEC and its member exporters.
Abbott announced Wednesday a cross-border security agreement with the governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo León, which has reduced the congestion, but crossing points elsewhere are still experiencing massive delays.
The city of Reynosa in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas is home to the largest border crossing for U.S. poultry shipments, said Sumner.
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“All the crossing points are problematic now,” says an internal USAPEEC memorandum. “Mexican drivers need to cross to the U.S. side in order to load their truck and they have not been allowed to do so until several hours later, after exhaustive inspection at the Texas borders … Importers of poultry meat are needing to use cold storage at the borders due to this problem, increasing their costs considerably, paying demurrage, extra transportation, and cold storage.”
The border problems come at a particularly bad time for trade. U.S. exporters have been trying to get their products across the border early this week because of the Easter Holiday. Mexico plans to close or reduce operations at most border crossing points starting Thursday.
Mexico is the largest foreign market for U.S. poultry. The U.S. exported about $119 million worth of broiler meat and $81 million of turkey meat to Mexico in the first two months of this year, according to USDA data.
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