Despite volume spike, Port Laredo’s March numbers dip because of coronavirus

The World Trade and Colombia Solidarity bridges in Laredo, Texas, saw a slight decline in commercial truck crossings during March, despite a surge in volume due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, 204,383 commercial vehicles crossed the World Trade and Colombia Solidarity commercial bridges in Laredo. It was 284 fewer truck crossings than in March 2019, a 0.1% decline.

“There’s been a little bit of a decrease in regards to the number of trucks as a result of the COVID-19 and some facilities shutting down in Mexico,” said Armando Taboada, assistant director of the Laredo field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, during a conference call Friday.

Mexican President Manuel Obrador ordered all nonessential businesses to close until at least April 30 to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Mexico. This includes automakers, electronics, steel and textile factories, and beer producers.

Taboada said Tuesdays are usually the busiest days for truck crossings, when more shipments begin heading north from Mexico to the United States.

Last Tuesday, April 7, the World Trade Bridge had 6,017 truck crossings, down from the usual average of 7,100 trucks for the bridge, Taboada said. This Tuesday, the World Trade Bridge totaled 5,839 truck crossings, according to the City of Laredo.

“This is based on all the adjustments that have been made in Mexico by some of the maquiladoras and some of the companies that are reducing their operations or shutting down, and also U.S. companies in the auto manufacturing industry that account for a lot of these numbers being dropped,” Taboada said.

Maquiladoras are foreign-owned factories — many of which are in Mexican border towns, that import parts from abroad, and build products made strictly for export.

Laredo’s bridge revenue for March was $5.43 million, down 9.7% from $6.02 million in March 2019.

The dip in truck volumes and bridge revenues comes despite a surge in truck outbound tender volume (OTVI.LRD) in Laredo, according to the latest FreightWaves SONAR data. The outbound truck volume spiked more than 20% from March 10 to March 23.

Laredo’s outbound tender volume spiked on March 23 with a value of 61.80, but has dropped sharply falling almost 37% since then. SONAR chart OTVI.LRD

Port Laredo also regained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade, topping the Port of Los Angeles in February, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.