(NewsNation) — Commercial vehicles trying to enter the United States to deliver goods from Mexico are often backed up for hours at Texas ports of entry due to increased inspections.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers have implemented stringent inspections of trucks coming from Mexico looking for drugs and unauthorized migrants.
In El Paso, cargo processing at the Bridge of the Americas remains suspended, and in Eagle Pass, one of two bridges has been closed for weeks. It’s due to federal officers being relocated from processing trucks to processing migrants.
“From the driver standpoint, the experienced drivers know when they get to the border, there’s going to be just delay and so maybe they’ve gotten themselves accustomed to it,” said Brooks Rugemer, a commercial transportation specialist at Robson Forensic. “But the newer drivers may not understand, and there’s a frustration there.”
Temporary closures at some ports of entry are forcing drivers to bottleneck through others, delaying the imports of critical goods into the U.S.
“If you arranged for a truckload to get to the border, to get them through the border, and another truck comes to pick up those goods, and if they are delayed at the border that is a day the truck has lost productivity,” said Lance Jungmeyer, of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
Officials in Eagle Pass have said fewer than half of the usual 850 trucks are crossing each day and many wait anywhere from four to seven hours for customs. Then, they undergo enhanced safety and equipment inspections by the Texas DPS, which some say further slows down commercial traffic.
“Right now, they are the biggest roadblock for them getting into the United States as quickly as possible,” said Homero Balderas, general manager of Eagle Pass International Bridge System.
In response, Texas DPS said in a statement, “We hope that the enhanced commercial vehicle safety inspections at these POEs (ports of entry) deter the placement of migrants and other smuggling activity along our southern border while also increasing the safety of our roadways.”
Federal data shows Mexico is now the United States’ top trading partner, with around seven million truck crossings into the U.S. from Mexico in 2022.
Any delay is a potential for lost revenue which could lead to possible price hikes and impact consumers’ wallets.
“I think until they resolve the other issues at the border this is going to be a backburner issue,” said Rugemer.
CBP has extended hours at the port of entry near the Bridge of the Americas to help with the traffic.
Officials haven’t released details on when the suspensions in Eagle Pass or El Paso will be lifted.