There’s a lot of concern south of the border about a recently-announced pilot project that will give 100 Mexican carriers the green light to operate inside the US. Like Canadian carriers, they will be forbidden from delivering loads from one point to another within the US. However, for the first time since 1982, they’ll be able to deliver loads beyond 20 miles of the US/Mexico border and they will be able to pick up loads for return to Mexico. Currently, they have to drop their trailers within 20 miles of the border for pickup by US carriers.
There’s no limit on how many trucks the 100 carriers that participate can operate in the US.
The Americans don’t like it one bit. At least a growing number of vocal Americans don’t like the idea one bit. The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Teamsters and other labour groups have spoken out emphatically against the plan.
“President Bush is willing to risk our national security by giving unfettered access to America’s transportation infrastructure to foreign companies and their government sponsors,” Teamsters leader, James Hoffa recently said. “They are playing a game of Russian roulette on America’s highways.”
Those are some strong words. Are they justified? Under the pilot project, Mexican carriers that operate in the US will be subjected to inspections by American officers and they will be audited by US agencies. They will have to adhere to the same rules as US and Canadian truckers adhere to while operating in the US. I imagine they’ll be on a pretty tight leash. I’ve heard enough horror stories from Canadian drivers about being singled out at US inspection stations – I can only imagine what the Mexicans will be in for.
For those of you who frequent the US, are you concerned about sharing the road with Mexican trucks and truckers? Or is the ‘Say No to Mexico’ crusade simply a case of protectionism – or worse yet, xenophobia?
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies