Borderlands: Texas border bridge expansion gets presidential permit

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Border bridge project gets presidential permit; Honda to build electric vehicle in Mexico; Texas-based Spirit Truck Lines acquired by Forgelight; and CBP seizes meth hidden in tortilla press.

Pharr bridge project receives presidential permit

The city of Pharr, Texas, recently received a presidential permit authorizing the expansion of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

The permit, which was issued Dec. 31 by President Donald Trump, allows for the addition of another bridge at the Pharr port of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The aim of the bridge project is to add cargo capacity and reduce wait times at the port, said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez.

“This permit amends the current permit to allow for the expansion of the Pharr International Bridge and will further support the record numbers of international trade and commerce that transpires on our port of entry,” Hernandez said in a release.

The second bridge will add two new lanes to separate trucks and cars, while dedicating specific lanes for empty cargo trucks and full cargo trucks, and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certified cargo trucks.

Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge is one of the busiest commercial border crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border. Pharr had 623,155 truck crossings during fiscal year 2018-19.

The bridge’s trade totaled $3.21 billion for the month of October, according to WorldCity.

Pharr’s top three exports to Mexico by value in November were liquified natural gas ($2 billion), motor vehicle parts ($471 million) and gasoline ($400 million).

Its top three imports from Mexico were TVs and computer monitors ($2 billion); avocados, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, etc. ($1.34 billion); and electrical boards, panels and switches ($906 million). 

GM to build Honda electric vehicle in Mexico

General Motors Co. will build Honda and Acura-branded electric crossovers in Mexico and Tennessee starting in 2023, Automotive News reported Wednesday.

The Honda electric vehicle reportedly will be assembled at the GM plant in the northern Mexico city of Ramos Arizpe, about 175 miles from Laredo, Texas. GM assembles its Chevrolet Blazer and Equinox at the same location.

GM will assemble Honda’s electric vehicle at an assembly plant in Mexico. (Photo: Honda)

The new Acura electric vehicle will be built at GM’s facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The plant currently builds the GMC Acadia, Cadillac XT5 and XT6. 

GM and Honda announced an agreement to jointly develop electric vehicles in April. The two companies said that the Honda and Acura electric vehicles would feature exteriors and interiors designed by Honda while using GM’s global electric vehicle platform.

Texas-based Spirit Truck Lines acquired by Forgelight

Spirit Truck Lines, headquartered in San Juan, Texas, was recently acquired by investment firm Forgelight.

Spirit provides dry-van truckload transportation outbound from the Mexican border and returning inbound from throughout the continental U.S. The company has more than 300 tractors and 1,200 power units serving the U.S.-Mexico cross-border market.

Plethora Businesses, an M&A advisory firm headquartered in Orange, California, served as the sell-side adviser in the deal.

“The Spirit team has built an impressive operation with many world-class clients and their truckload and cross-border focus is an excellent platform for continued service expansion,” Robert Fahrenhorst, Plethora’s managing director, said in a release

New York-based ForgeLight is an investment company focused on the media and consumer technology sectors. 

CBP seizes meth hidden in tortilla press

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati recently found 26 pounds of meth in a shipment of imported freight from Mexico.

The case occurred Jan. 1 at the Cincinnati Port of Entry, where a K-9 alerted agents to a shipment of imported handicrafts from Mexico. A closer exam reportedly revealed a white powdery substance concealed inside a wooden tortilla press in the shipment.

The powder tested positive for methamphetamine, with a total weight of 26 pounds. The shipment was headed to a residence in Houston, according to the CBP.

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