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Tecma Transportation Services achieves Clean Transportation certification in Mexico

Tecma Transportation Services achieves Clean Transportation certification in Mexico

Tecma Transportion Services’ head, John Rippee, explains that Clean Transportation certification in Mexico is becoming more common.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Welcome to another installation of Tecma Talk podcasts. If you are frequent listener to these recordings, you know that they are discussions with experts that are both internal and external to the Tecma Group of Companies. The discussions basically center around issues that have to do with manufacturing in Mexico and related topics. Today we have the privilege of speaking with John Rippee, a Tecma Group internal expert. He is joining us. John, how are you? Could you please introduce yourself to the listeners.

John Rippee:

I’m fine. I am the current Vice President of Border Solutions at Tecma. I’m specifically responsible for increased efficiencies for border crossing, customs processing and compliance. My job is to constantly try to make the importation and exportation of goods moving in and out of our borders as invisible and efficient as is possible for Tecma clients. If you can run a business without the worry and concerns related to late shipments, long border lines and all the troubles that come with those issues, then you are typically a happy customer. Our goal here at Tecma is to make this happen.

Tecma Group of Companies:

John, recently Tecma was able to put a feather in its cap. A team of folks from the organization went down to Mexico City and received, in English it’s called the Clean Transport in Mexico certification or award, while in Spanish it’s called “Transporte Limpio.” From what I understand, there is an EPA program that is something that mirrors this program in Mexico. Could you explain a bit about both what Mexico’s Clean transport certification program is, as well as the EPA “Smartways” program that mirrors it?

John Rippee:

Some years ago, the EPA, in the United States, came up with the Smartway Transport Partnership. Currently there are close to three thousand companies in the US that are involved in that program. Essentially, what it does is that it promotes in vehicle technologies that reduce fuel consumption and emissions in the United States. That makes the air in cities cleaner, and it makes communities more “livable.” It has been very successful with its branding. A lot of people listening to this recording will be very familiar with the brand “Smartway,” because they may see a lot of trucks going up and down the road with the logo on them. It became very successful via branding, because, now, companies that are Smartway get preferred contracting with a number of companies that exist out there. Mostly because, one, they want to be “green,” and, two, it’s also cheaper. If you can reduce your emissions, you burn less fuel and fuel costs money. That is the basis of the entire program. Most of the participating companies have seen about a ten to twenty percent reduction in fuel consumption, which translates into a ten to twenty percent reduced cost of the fuel that is being purchased for moving product.

Mexico has seen this success of the Smartway Program over the years, and several years ago decided to mirror that program. They set their agents up and taught them how to audit and to train companies to take measures to receive Clean Transportation certification in Mexico. Since Tecma has its own logistics company for cross border trade activities, the company decided to enter into that program because it made sense. We want to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and livable city, and we certainly want to reduce the shipping costs that go directly to our clients. So both Smartways and Transporte Limipio, or Clean Transport, officials are looking to expand the programs to include more participants. This will help to reduce fuel consumption related emissions. We’ll probably see the creation and expansion of similar programs occur in other countries in the future. That is what we are looking at currently.

Tecma Group of Companies:

John, you touched upon a couple of benefits a moment ago. Particularly, interesting is the one that has to do with the Smartways program being a recognized brand, and, over time, the anticipation that Mexico’s Clean transport certification, or Transporte Limpio brand, will have the same level of recognition in Mexico. Do you see any potential benefits that may come in the future that might not have evidenced themselves already?

John Rippee:

Yes, we do. We are seeing a lot of agencies that are trying to measure things like “wait times” and air quality at ports of entry in order to understand all of the problems that obstruct that goal of making cities more livable, as well as trade related metrics that have to do with border crossing times. This is a critical component of all of those things. Most of the time, all that we hear about is security, security, security. Well, it is very clear that environmental conditions and considerations are becoming elements of the equation that are increasingly important to trade.

This is something that companies, as well as governments, are beginning to look at to be on point to make the conditions under which workers are operating more livable, sustainable and less frustrating. One of those elements will be those reduced emissions at those ports of entry. So, I think that, in the future, what we are going to see is the measurement of those performance variables such as emissions. That is going to be an area in which agencies will hold discussions in conjunction with security systems and trade compliance. We want to make sure that we are taxing the goods that should be taxed. Governments certainly need to operate, but the emissions toll on particular environments in the cities in which we live is an important issue that will become more of a pressure point as we move towards the future, as well as a benefit. The companies that are in Smartways and have Clean Transport certification in Mexico. Companies that are going to reduce their emissions are probably going to be at the forefront of the benefits for reduced crossing times because they put forth the effort to put performance variables and technologies and investment are going to allowed to cross at security apparatus systems at a much faster rate.

Tecma Group of Companies:

That sounds good, John. Because, as you mentioned, a lot of idling goes on at the border, and as they idle they are probably emitting many things into the air that are not very good. Obviously, it is well worth the effort to get the Clean Transport certification in Mexico. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about the process of getting certified, in case there are some listeners that are interested in doing so? Some of them may be people that are involved in transportation companies that might want to look into this.

John Rippee:

The Transporte Limpio program, or the Clean Transport certification in Mexico, is a joint effort by two government agencies the SCT, or the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, and SEMARNAT. SEMARNAT is Mexico’s equivalent of the EPA in the US. There is a website for the Clean Transport certification in Mexico. You can go to it and fill out all the bureaucratic questions that are there. The process begins by them sending personnel to go in to review your company’s current status. They will bring with them a list of questions which you will be required to fill out and answer. After this you must correct anything that exists within the organization that are in discrepancy with the Clean Transport certification in Mexico program requirements.

Once you are ready, an auditor will be sent to your business. The auditor will spend two to three days in the applicant’s office conducting training and going over things. Some drivers learn specific training, which may include driving techniques that are designed to reduce emissions. This can be terrific. At Tecma Transportation Services, we have actually gone from using an average of 5.5 mpg to a fleet average of 6.8 mpg. This has been a dramatic turn for a fleet that burns millions of gallons of fuel over the course of a year. Once we achieved this, they went back and reviewed all the action items that had been set up for us to attend to. Once we completed the action items, they formally awarded a partnership certificate. During this past weekend, we sent our team down to Mexico City to participate in the official Clean Transport certification in Mexico reception with the other companies that were awarded the designation this year.

For us, it took about a year and a half to address the items that needed tending to, get the appropriate training and move forward with the process, and it has been very beneficial to us.

Tecma Group of Companies:

John, you touched upon the critical issue of wait times for moving things back and forth across the border. Is there any more that you can say about how this will, over the course of time, help companies to access companies that have the Clean Transport certification in Mexico that will be able to deliver to them quicker and more efficiently?

John Rippee:

What we are seeing is a move towards a common operating picture. What I mean by that is that there are so many compliance and regulatory issues for just transportation companies. What I personally believe is going to happen in the future is that certification processes such as those in place for Transporte Limpio and Smartway will eventually grant cross recognition. Very much like C-TPAT in the US and NEEC in Mexico, which are both moving in that direction.  For those listeners that aren’t familiar with those programs they are related to trade security, and have received US-Mexico cross recognition.   I fully expect Smartway and Transporte Limpio, the Clean Transport certification program in Mexico, to do the same in the future.  Beyond that we are going to see the merging of the security apparatus systems, as well as the merging of green certifications. This is because of the benefits of the companies going through the process need to be recognized for having made the effort to do so. Remember, one they are secure, and two they are “green.” As a result they will have reduced wait times.  We are certainly going to see dedicated lanes for those companies that go through the process and receive these certifications. Because of efforts made by firms in this area, there will be a dramatic reduction in terms of their shipping costs. It is important to know that there is a lot of room for improvement in supply chain efficiency, specifically in international trade.

Tecma Group of Companies:

John, it’s interesting to hear how what you describe is speeding things up, as well as how reduced fuel emissions will help the environment,  and cut down on the traffic jams that some of the border crossings have.  Before wrapping things up, is there any other future consideration that you feel is worth mentioning in terms of where you think the things that you have spoken about are heading?

John Rippee:

Yes, I think that where things are headed is what I have mentioned:  the merging of all of these certifications, including the Clean Transport certification program in Mexico. One common operating picture will emerge. I think that as agencies, and international agencies, in fact, continue to merge and share information, it is going to be very interesting for companies that stay on the forefront of that trend. They can take advantage of those systems. They can be very friendly. Transparency makes lives much easier, rather than the typical infighting, as it were, between government agencies and companies as they feel the heavy burden of all these regulations, whereas, if you can simplify and have a unified, top-down approach, things can become easier, cheaper and can result in a better and brighter future for everybody involved.  Things are going to get interesting very fast.

Tecma Group of Companies:

John, given that fact, first of all we are always appreciative of the fact that you are willing to talk about things that are useful and relevant to people that are involved in international trade, but, as things progress, would you be willing to take questions from individuals that might listen to this podcast and that could benefit from advice from someone like you?

John Rippee:

Absolutely.  There is a blog on the Tecma website. All of our professionals write particular articles on relevant subject matter to communicate what we know, when we know and how we know it. We do podcasts, as well. People are welcome to reach out to us via that website.  They can feel free to call any of the professionals in our organization with their Mexico manufacturing and business related questions.

Remember, relevant and useful Mexico manufacturing content is available at one’s fingertips by downloading the Tecma Group mobile app from the Google Play Store or ITunes.  Interested parties can also receive Mexico manufacturing information on a weekly basis by SMS Texting the word Tecma to 96000.

 

 

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