Prior to January 2013, conveyances involved in US-Mexico truck trade in the border region at El Paso could expect to spend seventy-six minutes, on average, to cross cargo from Mexico into the United States. That was prior to the implementation of “Project 21.” Project 21 is a public-private partnership that was entered into by the City of El Paso and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Today wait times, for that same crossing, have been reduced to an average of twenty-two minutes.

US-Mexico truck trade benefits from this effort to expedite commerical movement along the southern border not only in terms of reduced wait times that result in tighter, lower cost supply chains, and cost savings and environmental pluses that result from the burning of reduced quantities of diesel fuel, but also from a more efficient use of capital goods.  The program has also engendered a higher level of security and trade integrity.

Project 21 utilizes technology that is supplied by the Tecma Group of Companies’ Secure Origins (SO). Secure Origins’ solution for US-Mexico truck trade is GPS-based, and creates the ability to monitor commercial shipping vehicles to determine if they stray from their designated course, or open their doors at unscheduled times.

Nelson Balido, Secure Origins’ vice-president of public affairs, sees the transparency that the company’s solution provides as a boon to the most important stakeholders in the trade process. For the owners of private transporation companies, the use of SO technology speeds movement, which in turns allows operators to make more efficient use of their transportation assets. Studies show that post January 2013 truck turns have increased by thirty-three percent on average. As a result of the expediting of commercial flows using SO technology, as well as through the implemention of a more rational segmentation of truck traffic lanes, US Customs and Border Protection has a reduced need to use scarce public resources to hire more inspectors at commercial ports to review cargo and to man more lanes specifically dedicated to US-Mexico truck trade.

The chief operating officer of Secure Origins, John Rippee, points to the big picture implications of gaining an accurate knowledge of how long it really takes to cross a truck carrying cargo from Mexico into the United States. Currently CBP does not have an optimal handle on what crossing times actually are. This is due to the fact that, beyond information associated with their responsibilities and actions, it is difficult to for the agency to know for certain what the time impacts of checks made by entities such as Mexican Customs, the FederalMotor Carrier Safety Administration and Texas transportation authorities are on crossing times. Secure Origins’ technology will enable the entities involved in the process to get accurate feedback on the time that it takes to complete their particular processes, to analyze them and to streamline them accordingly.

Secure Origins hopes to eventually extend its technologies to cover US-Mexico truck trade across the entire length of the border between the two nations, as well as to monitor and secure US-Canadian commercial flows on the ground.

Read the primary source for this post provided by the Journal of Commerce.

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