New cargo inspection program to cut wait times at Texas border port

A new cargo inspection program aims to cut border crossing wait times at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in Pharr, Texas.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are now working at the Pharr Land Port of Entry alongside their Mexican counterparts to jointly inspect thousands of trucks loaded with non-agricultural imports.

The new Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) program, which began on Monday, will save time and money for trucks traveling from Mexico, CBP officials said.

“Conducting a single inspection with dual components, in this case CBP officers working alongside our Mexican counterparts, will streamline the inspection process, which can ultimately only expedite the flow of international commerce,” said Carlos Rodriguez, CBP’s port director for the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas ports of entry.

Previously, trucks crossing at the border had to be inspected by Mexican custom officials in Mexico, and then they would drive about seven miles across the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and be inspected all over again with U.S. customs officers.

The city of Pharr donated infrastructure modifications to the CBP to establish two dry dock bays at the Pharr Land Port of Entry. The dry dock bays will be used by CBP officers and Mexican custom officials as additional secondary inspection bays for non-agricultural imports.

“We look forward to benefiting from expedited inspections, reduced wait times, and more efficient international commerce as a result of this program,” Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said.

The UCP program is also currently used at ports of entry in El Paso and Laredo, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and Otay Mesa, California.

Pharr is located in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, which consists of the nearby cities of Brownsville, Harlingen, Weslaco, McAllen and Edinburg. Pharr is also connected to the Mexican city of Reynosa by the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

The bridge’s two-way trade with the world totaled $36.68 billion in 2019, and $1.82 billion for the month of April, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.

Goods being exported to Mexico account for 95% of the bridge’s trade, with top exports of liquified natural gas and gasoline ($838 million); motor vehicle parts ($172 million) and TVs and computer monitors ($140 million).

Top U.S. imports at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge include TVs and computer monitors ($614 million), avocados-dates-figs-pineapples ($575 million) and strawberries and blueberries ($495 million).

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