EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexico’s foreign minister on Wednesday will visit a port of entry at the Chihuahua-New Mexico border to talk about North American supply chain issues and how local industry can help ease the crisis.
Marcelo Ebrard will share details about such a plan during a news conference at the San Jeronimo, Mexico-Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry, his office said.
Santa Teresa is one of the fastest-growing commercial truck entry ports along the U.S.-Mexico border and served as a critical safety valve earlier this year when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered strict state truck checks that strangled truck traffic coming from Mexico into El Paso.
The fact that a high-ranking Mexican official will be at the port of entry is an encouraging sign for future development, industry leaders on both sides of the border said.
“I know Chihuahua has been in touch with (Ebrard’s) office about getting more infrastructure at San Jeronimo. That he is here is a very encouraging sign and we hope the Mexican government – which has already indicated it is a priority for them – will put more infrastructure in place, which is very important to us,” said Jerry Pacheco, president and CEO of the Santa Teresa-based Border Industrial Association.
The federal government recently funded a feasibility study for port expansion on the U.S. side. But the infrastructure to accommodate more trucks, more cargo and oversized cargo are pending on the Mexican side.
Santa Teresa’s industrial parks directly support nearly 6,000 jobs in New Mexico, according to a study by New Mexico State University’s economics department. San Jeronimo’s computer boards, electronics and candy factories generate 9,000 jobs for Mexican residents, Pacheco said.
The foreign minister also plans to meet with industry leaders in Juarez to talk about the maquiladora foreign-run assembly plant network there, according to the Juarez Chamber of Industry.
“San Jeronimo-Santa Teresa is strategic because of its location. It allows Juarez industry to export (goods and parts) to two contiguous states – Texas and New Mexico – through a land port,” said chamber President Thor Salayandia.
He said Abbott’s truck inspections highlighted the importance of having an outlier port of entry capable of absorbing more truck traffic from Juarez.
“It is a very important option that should have been utilized since a long time ago. It has great industrial capabilities on the U.S. side, it has lots of water in Santa Teresa and they have an intermodal train hub. We have much electricity on the Mexican side and, above all, we have a lot of people in West Juarez willing to work but few maquiladoras operating there,” Salayandia said.