Borderlands: Central Mexico tops for cargo theft; Flex adds 1,000 jobs in Juárez

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Central Mexico tops for cargo theft; Flex adds 1,000 jobs in Juárez, $3.3 million of meth found in tile shipment and Mexican sorghum farmers to meet with government.

Mexico state tops list for most dangerous for cargo trucks

The Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS) released a new report covering the thefts of insured cargo units from January to June of this year, and the state of Mexico topped with 1,801 robbery incidents.

The report, titled “Theft and recovery of insured vehicles,” presents truck cargo theft data from the first quarter of 2020, showing that regions in central and northern Mexico were the most affected by cargo bandits.

From January to June, the most dangerous Mexican states were:

  • Mexico: 1,801 robberies.
  • Puebla: 1,101 robberies.
  • Veracruz: 1,098 robberies.
  • Guanajuato: 908 robberies.
  • Jalisco: 606 robberies.

Mark Vickers, chief executive officer of Borderless Coverage, said his firm has seen an increase of cargo thefts for shipments moving between the U.S. and Mexico.

“Most of these thefts and hijackings are occurring within a 100-mile radius of Nuevo Laredo in Mexico, which is just south of Laredo, Texas,” Vickers said. “Targeted commodities change based on what can easily be resold in the black market.” 

Borderless Coverage provides cross-border consulting services and cross-border cargo insurance to a wide range of businesses in the North American shipping industry.

Vickers said the commodities being targeted right now are trucks carrying masks, hand sanitizers and other products needed to combat the coronavirus. 

“It’s unfortunate these essentials are being targeted right now,” Vickers said. “Prior to COVID-19, food and beverages accounted for the majority of thefts, followed by general consumer products (especially alcohol and tobacco), construction materials, and electronics.”

The report from AMIS also said that almost 9,000 trucks were robbed in Mexico during the period between July 2019 to June 2020. While the figure seems high, it’s a 26% decrease compared to July 2018 to June 2019.

AMIS officials also said 69% of the insured trucks that were stolen between July 2019 to June 2020 were recovered.

Flex to expand plant in Juárez, Mexico, generating 1,000 new jobs 

Flex (NASDAQ:FLEX), a global electronics manufacturer, recently announced a $14 million expansion project in the Mexican city of Juárez.

The expansion will add almost 60,000-square feet to the Flex Juarez North plant, as well as adding a new research lab. As many as 1,000 new jobs could be part of the expansion, including engineers, technicians and researchers.

Flex Juarez North is a wire harness manufacturing facility for the automotive industry. Flex’s other facility in Juárez manufactures electronic circuit board products.

Flex currently has seven other factories across Mexico. Globally, the company has 100 factories in 30 countries, employing more than 160,000 people.

Flex, which was founded in 1969, is a $26 billion electronics manufacturing and supply chain services company. Flex’s corporate headquarters are located in Singapore, and its administrative headquarters are in San Jose, California. 

$3.3 million of meth found in tile shipment

A drug-sniffing K-9 alerted law enforcement to a tractor-trailer that was supposed to be carrying only tile on Tuesday, July 14, at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers were inspecting a truck from Mexico at the cargo facility. Border officers found 164.81 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside a shipment of tiles.

The drugs have an estimated street value of nearly $3.3 million.

“International trade continues to show extraordinary growth, causing illicit drug traffickers to become bolder in their attempts to smuggle contraband through commercial supply chains,” said Gregory Alvarez, the port director for the Laredo Port of Entry.

CBP officers seized the trailer and drugs, and turned the case over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Mexican sorghum farmers to meet with government on Wednesday 

Following several days of protests along the United States-Mexico border, farmers from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas are set to meet with government officials to settle a dispute on sorghum prices.

The meeting between the members of the Northern Regional Agricultural Union of Tamaulipas (UARN) and officials with Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture and Finance will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22, in Mexico City.

Mexican farmers blocked commercial access at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in South Texas on June 8-9, disrupting cross-border commercial traffic for 36 hours. 

Farmers want a guaranteed price of 3,735 pesos per ton of sorghum, while the Mexican government has been offering around 2,900 pesos.

 Agustín Hernández Cardona, UARN president, said more protests and blockades across border ports of entry will take place if a new price can’t be negotiated.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More stories

Ford to build new Bronco Sport SUV in Mexico

French aerospace firm to build new factory in northern Mexico 

Truckers assist Utah Highway Patrol in dramatic video