Borderlands: Volvo delivers 76 trucks to Mexican carrier; crews checked for coronavirus at Port Manzanillo

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Volvo delivers 76 new trucks to Mexican carrier; ships are checked for coronavirus at Port Manzanillo; Stabilis Energy expands in Mexico with new sales director; and Pilot Freight Services expands warehouse presence in El Paso.

Volvo delivers 76 trucks to one of Mexico’s largest cross-border carriers

Volvo Trucks Mexico said it has delivered 76 new VNL 630 models to Transportes Monroy Schiavon (TMS), one of the leading asset-based carriers in Mexico. 

TMS ordered the Volvo trucks in 2019 and took delivery of the 76 new units during a ceremony at its headquarters near Mexico City. 

The VNL 630 models come equipped with Volvo’s adaptive-loading technology, the Volvo 12-speed I-shift transmission and Euro IV engines. 

“Volvo Trucks and TMS have worked together for approximately 20 years, and TMS started buying vehicles with adaptive-loading technology four years ago,” Luz Elena Jurado, Volvo Trucks Mexico general manager, said in an interview with FreightWaves. “In the case of I-shift transmissions, TMS has been purchasing trucks spec’d with that component since 2012.”

Raul Monroy, TMS owner and general director, said his fleet has around 1,050 trucks, of which 75% to 80% are Volvo trucks. Monroy said TMS, which has been in operation since 1979, prefers Volvo trucks because of features like the I-shift transmission and Volvo’s adaptive-loading technology.

“We have incorporated this technology for three years and it has been a very practical tool to make diesel consumption more efficient,” Monroy said during the ceremony.

Adaptive-loading technology is a 6×2 drive system that features an automatically lifting pusher axle (lead tandem axle) for enhanced economy in one-way-loaded operations, according to Volvo.

Jurado said the Mexico market for trucks grew by around 3% in 2019. However, she predicted the country will see an overall decrease in new truck orders, from 27,000 in 2019 to around 22,000 this year.

Volvo, along with other truck manufacturers in Mexico, has been affected by the new NOM-044 regulation, which limits the amount of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, non-methane and other gases that diesel engines are allowed to emit.

By Jan. 1, 2021, all heavy-duty diesel motors and vehicles sold or imported into Mexico will be required to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

“This is a challenging situation because our competitors in Mexico are offering Euro V and Volvo is the only brand to change Euro IV (older diesel engines) to GHG (greenhouse gas-certified fuel-efficient engines),” Jurado said. 

In 2019, Volvo sold 998 GHG units and around 40% had EPA10 GHG technology. A new marketing strategy is one of the keys to grow sales of the EPA10 GHG engines, Jurado said.

“Our plan for 2020 is to sell 1,210 units, which would be an 18% increase over 2019. In 2019 we implemented a demo program to help show the fuel-economy benefits of EPA10 GHG technology, and our average during this test was 9% less fuel consumption compared to Euro IV engines,” Jurado said.

Jurado added that Volvo has plans for electric trucks, as well as trucks that use natural gas engines, for the Mexican market.

“In case of natural gas trucks, we will start to sell them via special projects this year. For electric trucks, there is a lot of customer interest in that technology in Mexico, and it is something we plan to develop in the next two years,” Jurado said.

Stabilis Energy expands in Mexico with new sales director

Houston-based Stabilis Energy Inc. recently announced the expansion of its Mexican distributed natural gas business with the hiring of Francisco Fuentes Carus as its new sales director for Mexico.

He will be responsible for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) sales in the state of Nuevo León, which includes the Monterrey metropolitan area and surrounding region. He also will manage other customer relationships throughout Mexico.

Prior to joining Stabilis, he served in senior sales and business development roles in multiple industries throughout Mexico.

“We are excited to welcome Francisco to our team,” Jim Reddinger, Stabilis president and CEO, said in a release. “He has an outstanding reputation in the distributed natural gas market in Mexico and we are proud that he is representing Stabilis as we expand our business.”

Stabilis recently formed a joint venture with CryoMex Investment Group LLC to pursue investments in distributed natural gas production and distribution assets in Mexico. Stabilis also recently opened a Mexican LNG transportation hub to facilitate the delivery of up to 50,000 LNG gallons per day to customers in northeastern Mexico. 

Asian ships checked for coronavirus at Port of Manzanillo 

Health officials in Mexico and the Port of Manzanillo said they checked 25 ships that arrived from Asia to detect possible cases of coronavirus.

The coronavirus that broke out in China has spread to other countries. Officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (SSBS) from the city of Colima and Port of Manzanillo authorities checked 248 ships, of which 25 left Asian countries, according to authorities.

In a statement, the SSBS said health checks are carried out on the crews of ships entering the Port of Manzanillo to prevent people with the virus from entering Mexico.

Authorities said any crew members showing signs of illness are checked by doctors for the virus. If there is no sign of the virus, the personnel are given the authorization to enter the ship into port.

The flu-like coronavirus, first identified on Dec. 31, has killed at least 26 people in China and infected more than 900 worldwide, according to CNBC.

The Port of Manzanillo is a seaport located on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The port is one of the busiest ports in Mexico, responsible for handling Pacific Ocean cargo for the Mexico City area.

Pilot Freight Services expands warehouse presence in El Paso

Pilot Freight Services recently expanded in El Paso, Texas, and Boston with new warehouse locations.

Pilot’s warehouses now total 167,000 square feet in El Paso with the addition of a new location at 1320 Henry Brennan Drive. The new facility increases Pilot’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) capacity in El Paso by 48,000 square feet.

“Our new warehouse expansions in El Paso and Boston enable us to enhance our services and capacity to provide client-focused solutions,” John Hill, Pilot’s president and chief commercial officer, said in a release. “Our increased FTZ is a response to the growing demand to provide cost-effective supply chain and transportation options to Mexico.”

Hill said the El Paso FTZ will offer U.S.-based companies the option to defer, reduce or eliminate customs duties on their products admitted to the zone. 

Pilot Freight Services has expanded it’s Foreign Trade Zone facility in El Paso, Texas. Image: Pilot Freight Services

“The station’s close proximity to the Zaragoza Bridge allows for shorter transit times to the Mexican border and has the ability to warehouse raw materials and products in a central location before being shipped to Mexico,” Hill said.

Pilot also has expanded its Boston warehouse facility to 48,000 square feet. Officials said the new location reflects Pilot’s ongoing commitment to the e-commerce industry.

Glen Mills, Pennsylvania-based Pilot Freight Services is a full-service transportation and logistics provider with 83 locations throughout North America.