What a Southern Border Closure Would Mean
Trucking with Canada and Mexico is a multi-billion-dollar business. A border closure with either country would lead to higher prices and inflation, now or in the future. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a new issue.
The President of the United States has threatened to close the United States' border with Mexico over illegal immigration concerns. Considering the potential economic consequences of a total closure of our southern border, the White House has stated that it is searching for ways to allow truckers and international transport of consumer goods to continue unaffected in the event of a border closure. We must find a workable solution for everyone.
Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council Director, stated, “The question is: can we deal with that, and not have economic damage? And, I think the answer is: We can, and people are looking at different options.”
California Is Familiar with the Costs of Delays at the Border
In 2009, California suffered economic losses of around $6 billion due to "normal" lengthy wait times at the border. The trucking industry does not bear those losses alone; those get passed on to the consumer in department and grocery stores across America.
In 2018, local businesses in the port town of San Ysidro, California, suffered severe economic losses as a direct result of a temporary border closure. The closure lasted only about 5 hours but cost businesses about $5.3 million. Truckers got diverted to other port towns like Otay Mesa, which resulted in 5-hour queues that cost businesses further.
Truckers Already Experience Partial Border Closures or Waits
A staggering amount of truck-borne freight crosses the southern border every single day. Approximately $1.7 billion in goods and materials pass over one of the international borders every day, which amounts to slightly over $600 billion annually.
Mexico is the United States’ most significant trading partner. Fifty-seven percent of the trade that traverses the border, approximately $347 billion in consumer goods and materials, are sent from Mexico into the United States.
Concerns over border closings and short staffing due to agent redeployment have already affected the international transport of consumer goods. These reallocations have resulted in slowed inspection of trucks and passenger traffic alike. Several key crossings cities feel the lag in service and inspection, including Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to El Paso, TX; Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, CA; Nogales, Mexico to Nogales, AZ; and from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Laredo, TX, with traffic backups for miles.
Mexican trucking industry officials have reported millions of dollars a day in lost commerce and extra costs associated with the delays. Some companies have reportedly been forced to slow or halt production as a result of delivery delays. However, the losses occur on both sides of the border.
The White House and Congress are looking for ways for trucks to continue their shipments, as we are sure is the case with the Mexican government as well.
The Problems with Roadside Inspections & Traffic Tickets Are Real to Truckers in Riverside
Despite potential problems at the border, for most truckers their most significant issue remains roadside inspections and traffic tickets. Surely, 5-hour backlogs at border crossings can cost drivers substantially, mainly since most earn their wages by the mile.
However, overweight trucks can cost $1.00 per pound overweight, and 80,000-pound trucks are usually thousands of pounds over rather than a few hundred. A cell phone ticket can cost them the $150 fine in California and another $2,750 by the FMCSA. A second excessive speeding conviction can get them disqualified for 60 days.
Those are mostly infractions, but a conviction of 4,501 pounds overweight and nearly 400 other violations are misdemeanor violations that stay with them for life. Try getting a driving job that pays well with a misdemeanor conviction. That’s why CDL holders know to hire a traffic law attorney.
Consult with Traffic Law Attorneys Who Regularly Practice in Riverside
Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, when you have issues with roadside inspections or the CHP out there on I-5, 10, or 15. Our priority is to protect the rights of commercial drivers. We will assist any driver with traffic tickets or DMV NOTS Hearings, but our primary focus is the CDL holders who deliver goods and passengers across the country and even across the border.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.