Nogales produce shipments have been light and inconsistent for the past couple of months, which is pretty typical this time of year. However, volume should show significant increases once we are past Christmas and heading into the New Year.
Everything from Mexican grown peppers to cucumbers, squash, eggpland, beans, tomatoes and melons should be crossing the border into Arizona in good volume.
A lot of people are keeping a close eye on the volume coming through Nogales to see if the port is losing business to the port of entry in McAllen, Tx, which is now receiving vegetables from West Mexico, with the completion of the 143-mile Autopista Durango-Mazatlan highway. West Mexican vegetables have historically moved through Nogales to destinations across the United States and Canada. With the new highway opening, it cuts a days travel time off of loads destined to points east of the Rocky Mountains.
While some Nogales distributors see the area losing business to Mexico, most say this is not the case. Between September 2013 and April 2014 movement across the Arizona border had increased 17 percent. Another advantage some are citing with Nogles over McAllen is the Arizona distribution facilities are fairly close together, while more spread out in Texas. This is a disadvantage for truckers picking up product at multiple distribution centers in McAllen.
Finally, some products in central Mexican – especially toprical fruits and avocados – that used to go through McAllen, are now being hauled westbound over the new Mexican highway and crossing the border at Nogales, for destinations in the Western half of the United States and Canada.
Mexican produce crossing at Nogales – grossing about $4100 to Chicago.
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After several delays, the Autopista Durango-Mazatlan highway, a 143-mile road from the growing regions of west Mexico to Texas ports of entry, now is expected to open sometime during the first half of 2014.
If you haul produce out of South Texas, this is significant.
It is open, but there are still sections of the road that are not 100 percent complete.
The route’s 1,280-foot-high Baluarte Bridge already has been completed. It is the highest bridge in North America and the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, according to the website highestbridges.com.
There is no need for trucks to travel up and down the mountain, because they bridges allows the 18 wheelers to go through the mountain.
The highway between Durango and the coastal city of Mazatlan has 61 tunnels and seven bridges that exceed 300 feet in height.
Nearly two-thirds of the produce Texas ships to the rest of the country comes from Mexico.
That only will increase when the new road opens, allowing Mexican growers to easily move product from growing areas in west Mexico to the eastern part of the country in an efficient manner.
Historically it has been impossible to do this because of the mountain ranges. However, the new road system flattens out the trip and making it entirely feasible for big rigs.
The shortcut should allow Mexican shippers and U.S. importers to save $2,000 when they ship a load east of the Rockies through Texas rather than Arizona or California.
Besides importing Mexican product, shippers may bring in Asian products shipped to deep water ports in west Mexico. This would allow importers to avoid Southern California’s Long Beach-Los Angeles harbor area, which is expensive and frustrating.
Completion of the road could boost south Texas to become the business port of entry for produce. Traditionally, Nogales, Ariz., has held the number one spot.
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