Borderlands: More than 1,400 Texas trucking/freight-related companies received PPP loans; $4.2 million in drugs seized at Pharr port of entry

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: 1,403 Texas trucking/freight-related companies received PPP loans; $4.2 million in drugs seized at Pharr port of entry; Visible SCM acquires TriCon; and Liftit raises $22.5 million in Series B funding.

More than 1,400 Texas trucking, transport companies receive PPP loans

A total of 1,403 Texas trucking and transportation companies received at least $150,000 in funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a Small Business Administration (SBA) report.

The SBA report, released on July 5, lists all businesses receiving PPP loans valued at $150,000 or more. Approximately 4.9 million loans totaling more than $521 billion were made to businesses and nonprofits through the PPP program.

A total of 908 Texas trucking, transportation and logistics companies received PPP loans in excess of $150,000, while 340 received loans in excess of $350,000.

There were 18 Texas trucking, transport and logistics companies (totaling 6,713 employees) that received between $5 million and $10 million in PPP loans:

  • Alan Ritchey Inc., Valley View, 500 employees, including 128 drivers, and 114 power units. 
  • Amplify Energy Operating, Houston, 292 employees.  
  • Andrews Logistics Texas, Southlake, 413 employees.
  • Axion Logistics, Pasadena, 225 employees, including 71 drivers, and 53 power units. 
  • Arnold Transportation Services, Grand Prairie, including 497 drivers, and 497 power units.
  • Central Freight Lines, Waco, 500 employees, including 1,651 power units and 1,175 drivers. 
  • Eastex Crude Trucking, Houston, 260 employees, including 282 power units and 201 drivers.
  • JS Helwig and Sons, Terrell, 249 employees, including 346 drivers, and 346 power units.
  • Ledwell & Sons, Texarkana, 494 employees, including 13 drivers, and 10 power units.
  • Moore Transport of Tulsa, Plano, 350 employees.
  • Pate Trucking Co., Lubbock, 250 employees, including 210 drivers, and 188 power units.
  • Raider Express, Fort Worth, 459 employees, including 320 drivers, and 322 power units. 
  • Sand Revolution Holdings, Midland, 467 employees.
  • SelecTransportation Resources, Houston, 411 employees.
  • Shippers Warehouse, Hutchins, 500 employees.
  • Southwestern Motor Transport, San Antonio, 386 employees, including 310 drivers, and 361 trucks.
  • Texas Transeastern Inc., Pasadena, 500 employees, including 439 drivers, and 139 power units.
  • Titus Transport Holdings, Ponder, 460 employees, including 685 drivers, and 427 power units.

Fifty companies received loans between $2 million and $5 million, while 87 companies received loans of between $1 million and $2 million.

The PPP loan program was created in April and was scheduled to end last month. The deadline was extended by the U.S. Senate recently to Aug. 8.

Visible Supply Chain Management Acquires Dallas-based TriCon 

Visible Supply Chain Management recently announced it has acquired TriCon Logistics, a logistics and fulfillment company based in Dallas.

TriCon’s acquisition will strengthen Visible’s overall offering to its customers by bringing new expertise in international customs brokerage services and international transportation, said Visible President Casey Adams in a release.

“Increasing our value to customers requires daily focus. The acquisition of TriCon positions us to help customers do business even more efficiently and effectively,” Adams said.

TriCon, which offers less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) solutions, handles door-to-door shipments within the U.S. and cross-border to Canada and Mexico. The company also offers domestic and international air freight services, with warehouse locations in Dallas, Orlando, Florida, and Seattle. 

Salt Lake City-based Visible offers customized solutions for B2B and B2C organizations, including services in e-commerce, direct sales, direct response and omnichannel. 

Last-mile tech platform Liftit raises $22.5 million in Series B funding

Liftit Inc., a Bogota, Colombia-based technology platform automating last-mile truck deliveries across Latin America, recently raised $22.5 million during its Series B funding round.

The round was led by Cambridge Capital, with participation from IFC, monashees, Jaguar Ventures and NXTP Ventures. 

The financing will allow the company to invest in artificial intelligence technology to automate last-mile transportation and delivery of goods across Latin America, said Brian York, Liftit’s chief executive.

“Cambridge Capital’s deep experience in logistics globally makes them the perfect partner for us. Working with them will allow us to continue developing our platform, deepen our leadership team and continue our high-growth trajectory into 2021 and beyond,” York said.

Liftit’s cloud-based technology platform allows large shippers to connect with a network of drivers across various commercial vehicle classes for automated tendering and execution of any kind of truck-based delivery, according to a release.

Founded in 2017, Liftit has more than 300 employees and currently operates in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador. Liftit customers include Walmart, Pepsi and Grupo Bimbo.

Drugs valued at $4.2 million seized at Pharr port of entry 

More than $4 million worth of drugs were seized during two incidents last week at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials discovered 22 packages of alleged methamphetamine in a shipment of fresh produce arriving from Mexico. The 185 pounds of alleged methamphetamine were discovered concealed inside the trailer.

The alleged methamphetamine has a street value of $3.7 million. CBP officials seized the narcotics and tractor-trailer. The case remains under investigation by agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The second incident occurred Tuesday, when methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl were discovered hidden inside an empty tractor-trailer arriving from Mexico.

An inspection of the truck resulted in officers removing 15 packages of alleged cocaine weighing 37.74 pounds, eight packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing 9.9 pounds and a 3.3-pound package containing alleged fentanyl. These narcotics have a combined street value of $540,000. 

CBP officers seize $540,000 in drugs from an empty truck at Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on Tuesday. (Photo: CBP)

Police arrested the driver, seized the narcotics and tractor-trailer and turned the case over to HSI.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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