Daily Column – 14th April 2022

It could stop billions of dollars in trade and weaken already fragile supply chains if freight traffic slows down on a key logistics route.

The protest isn’t in Canada, China, or the Suez Canal.

They’ve been blocking the US–Mexico border crossings since Monday in protest of a new inspection programme that Texas Governor Greg Abbott began last week. A multi-billion dollar project called Operation Lone Star is behind the extra inspections. It’s meant to improve border security and stop drug cartels from bringing illegal goods and people into the US from Mexico.

There will be a lot less traffic at the border because of the inspections that Abbott said would “dramatically slow down traffic,” but even his own agriculture commissioner said the policy was “turning a crisis into a disaster.”

Just how bad is the gridlock, and how long does it take?

There was a big increase in the time it took for commercial vehicles to get through one point.

Another time, what had been a 26-minute wait turned into a 300-minute wait.

Overall, trade traffic at four ports of entry is only about a third of what it usually is, says the Mexican foreign ministry.

This traffic jam puts the flow of important goods, like auto parts, tech components, and perishables, at risk. Almost two-thirds of the produce Texas sells comes from Mexico. The refrigeration units it travels in only have enough fuel to last six to seven days, after which the produce will go bad. There hasn’t been much fruit and vegetables that can go bad in the U.S. since Friday, says an American industry group.

Looking at the next few years…

Business groups, the Mexican government, and even members of his own party have all slammed Abbott for what he said. His deal with one Mexican state to stop some border checks on the US side was announced yesterday, and he plans to talk to other Mexican officials about the same thing. This is what he said.

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