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465640-1 Report Abstract

Commercial Surface Transportation Efficiency at the Texas/Mexico Border: A Look at the Laredo Gateway

James M. Sassin, Robert Harrison and Leigh B. Boske, University of Texas at Austin, July 1995, 54 pp. (465640-1)

As U.S.-Mexico trade experiences growth after the 1993 ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with considerable economic benefits to the State of Texas, a look at the efficiency of transportation services and linkages at border ports-of-entry is a natural step in planning for future infrastructure. Even before the ratification of NAFTA, many ports-of-entry experienced the problem of congestion. The move toward trade expansion amplifies the problem. These inefficiency problems, witnessed by producers and shippers, are found in fuel consumption (from waiting at the border or transferring goods at the border), substandard transportation infrastructures, dissimilar business practices between Mexico and the U.S., and regulatory practices.

This report evaluates the efficiency of moving cargo at the Laredo gateway. The surface transportation modes investigated were motor carriers and railroads. Using two case studies, Contract Freighters, Inc., (CFI) and Union Pacific (UP), this investigation contrasts several border crossing schemes used in the transportation industry.

A desirable goal for moving cargo across the border is to eliminate the multi-stage process which sometimes takes a day or two. This study concludes that fuel consumption used in this transborder process increases substantially.

Keywords: NAFTA, Border Crossings, Drayage, Energy, Freight Movements

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Reference Report #465640-1