U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican Customs (Servicio de Administracion Tributaria/Aduana Mexico or SAT) last week formally dedicated a new center at Laredo, Texas to allow both agencies to more efficiently work together to process freight trains crossing the border, American Shipper reports.
The new facility, located close to the railhead of the Laredo International Rail Bridge, will allow Mexican Customs to complete its outbound inspections and CBP to perform inbound inspection processes simultaneously, eliminating delays and duplication while maintaining security and facilitating lawful commerce, CBP said.
Specifically, the agencies will share Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) security scanning images, conduct Mexico export processing at the U.S. railhead, streamline documentation review of northbound trains, and carry out joint inspections, when necessary, on inbound shipments.
“This project is essential to facilitate the goal of expanding trade and particularly increasing exports of goods such as refined petroleum products and petro-chemicals from the U.S. to Mexico,” said KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer.
In addition to petroleum and petro-chemicals, these trains carry large volumes of automobiles and parts, steel and grain. The Laredo/Nuevo Laredo rail crossing is the busiest along the U.S.-Mexico border, processing on average 23 trains in both directions every 24 hours. According to CBP, northbound rail traffic alone at the border crossing has increased 16.5 percent in 2017 and is expected to continue growing.