DOT To Give Mexican Carriers the Green Light

Mexican Cross-Border Pilot Program Comes to an End

The US Department of Transportation last week announced that Mexican carriers will soon be able to apply for operating authority to “conduct long-haul, cross-border trucking services in the United States.”

According to a press release from the DOT, the goal is to increase economic and export opportunities between the U.S. and Mexico.

“Today’s announcement ends more than two decades of uncertainty, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman also welcomed the news,” the press release states.

The policy is expected to terminate more than $2 billion in annual retaliatory terrifies on U.S. goods.

“Opening the door to a safe cross-border trucking system with Mexico is a major step forward in strengthening our relationship with the nation’s third largest trading partner, and in meeting our obligations under NAFTA,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Data from the three-year pilot program, and additional analysis on almost 1,000 other Mexican long-haul trucking companies that transport goods into the United States, proved that Mexican carriers demonstrate a level of safety at least as high as their American and Canadian counterparts.”

In October, the Cross-Border Pilot Program came to an end.  Fifteen Mexican carriers were enrolled in the program. The carriers in the program crossed the border 28,000 times, traveled more than 1.5 million miles, and underwent more than 5,500 inspections.

The DOT press release states that data from the pilot carriers found that the carriers had violation, driver, and vehicle OOS rates that “met the level of safety as American and Canadian-domiciled motor carriers.”

“I am pleased that the Department of Transportation has published its analysis of its very rigorous long-haul, cross-border trucking pilot program. The successful conclusion of the pilot program provides the basis for the permanent resolution to this dispute,” said Ambassador Froman. “We have been, and will continue to work with Mexico to ensure that the threat of retaliatory duties will now be brought to a swift conclusion as well. Formally concluding this process will help us continue our work to expand trade and investment opportunities between our countries.”

Carriers from Mexico that want to participate in long-haul trucking in the U.S. will be required to pass a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit to ensure that they have safety management procedures in place, including the monitoring of driver HOS and conducting drug screening. In addition, all drivers must possess a valid U.S. CDL or Mexican Licencia Federal de Conductor.  Furthermore, they must meet the DOT’s English language proficiency requirements.

“Like Canadian companies that are granted U.S. operating authority, carriers and drivers from Mexico are required to comply with all laws and regulations, including regular border and random roadside inspections. Once the motor carrier is approved, their vehicles will be required to undergo a 37-point North American Standard Level 1 inspection every 90 days for at least four years,” the press release states.

More information on today’s announcement can be found in FMCSA’s Federal Register notice.