Tecma University

Back to blog page

US-Mexico Intermodal Transportation

US-Mexico Intermodal Transportation

Sometimes US-Mexico intermodal transportation provides a safer and cost-effective alternative to traditional highway shipping.

After 9/11, the already-congested US-Mexico border became even more laborious for cargo to cross. The average delay time for a cargo truck crossing the border, in some cases, rose to three hours. This situation has prompted some companies to consider how they might reduce this draw on limited transportation resources in order to protect their bottom line. Many are discovering that, in some instances, US-Mexico intermodal transportaton service is the solution that fits their needs.

Traditionally, motor freight is, has been, and, most likely, will continue to be the mainstay of commercial transport between the US and Mexico. At the beginning and end of the shipping process, inputs and manufactured goods are most often transported via trucking, especially between the US and Mexico. This, however, may be changing somewhat. The heavily trafficked US-Mexico border is transited between two and three million times each year by commercial freight haulers. Taking an average delay of around three hours into consideration, this translates into millions of hours that companies pay for that are added onto transport expenses. Each truck must be thoroughly inspected and authorized before proceeding on its journey. Shipping via US-Mexico intermodal transportation service, however, takes advantage of recent upgrades in Mexican rail technology and infrastructure. While rail was first considered and abandoned as an alternative to trucking in the 1990s, the inferior rail system of the past is gradually becoming a viable transport option in the present.

In addition to the time saved and lowered costs, shipping via US-Mexico intermodal transportation, depending on particular circumstances, can make sense from a safety and risk-management point of view. Although Mexico’s main transportation corridors’ highways are paved and in excellent condition, some lanes and bridges in outlying, rural areas are narrower and feature sharper curves. In such places, collisions involving livestock and other road hazards can make potential problems a distinct possibility. Therefore, depending upon specific routes in the interior of the country, transporting via rail can be safer, less expensive and may involves fewer accidents. In fact, US-Mexico intermodal transportation services are increasingly achieving greater levels of safety, speed, and dependability.

Intermodal shipping is essentially a partnership between multiple modes of transportation which, when combined, provide integrated, door-to-door services. Shipping into Mexico in this fashion often utilizes trucks for a short delivery at one end or the other, with the greatest distance (including the border crossing) transited by utilizing highly secure rail transport. Prior to their arrival at the border, shipments being moved using US-Mexico intermodal transportation services have already been processed and approved for entry. This allows for their crossing the international boundary without stopping. Since railroads in Mexico have cooperated extensively with the Mexican government in sharing information electronically, government transportion officials and regulators can be sure that no unauthorized stops occur while cargo is in transit. Companies can truck their materials to a rail yard in which they are processed. There, all appropriate papers and relevant forms are completed, including shipper’s export declarations, certificates of origin, bills of landing, and commercial invoices. Shipments then are loaded onto a rail car and can then get underway. Transport companies track movement, monitor border crossings, and move products to their final destinations. At this point, final delivery to recipients and compliance with all applicable rules and regulations are ensured by a customs broker.

Share

Join discussion in this post

Get in touch

Fill out the contact form. One of Tecma’s team of trusted professionals will contact you promptly about advantages of manufacturing in Mexico.

Get in touch

Subscribe to the Tecma News Brief

This quarterly publication will be populated with content that is useful and relevant to readers that are contemplating Mexico investments, have operations already within the Republic, as well as to other individuals that have an interest in Mexico and its manufacturing sector.