Federal Update
Cross-border applicants hit a snag

By Jami Jones, managing editor

Two Mexico-based motor carriers applying for long-haul access to the U.S. hit a snag in the admission process when protest letters led to a suspension of their applications.

Higienicos y Desechables Del Bajio and Servicios Refrigerados Internacionales applied for admission to the program in August and September of last year, respectively. Both have passed their pre-authority safety audits. Once the agency published their requests for authority, protests were filed. Those protests led to a suspension of the applications.

According to the FMCSA, the applications were suspended while the agency addresses concerns received during the FMCSA registration process. Agency officials expect to address those concerns with the carriers and the commenters in the coming weeks.  

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed protest letters on both of the motor carriers, citing among other things, failure to disclose affiliations with other motor carriers.

That shortcoming was highlighted in both of OOIDA’s recent protest letters.

“The existence of an affiliated motor carrier is a material fact,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston wrote. “In a recent final rule, FMCSA announced that its knowledge of the existence of a motor carrier’s or its principals’ prior affiliations or incarnations is critical in order to perform a proper analysis of the motor carrier’s, or its principals’, safety management practices.”

Participation in the program has been lackluster at best. To date, only four motor carriers have been granted authority in the program and accumulated 47 total trips across the border. 

Throughout the duration of the program – which grants reciprocal access to U.S. trucks into Mexico – the State Department has repeatedly warned against unnecessary travel in Mexico.

The most recent warning, which followed a stateside arrest of several individuals believed to be members of the Los Zetas cartel, came out of fear of retaliation against U.S. citizens.

“Given the history and resources of this violent (transnational criminal organization), the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to maintain a low profile and a heightened sense of awareness,” the warning states.

It goes on to dissuade citizens from traveling in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, specifically because of the Los Zetas’ presence in that state.

The previous travel warning details numerous regions in Mexico that travel is warned against, many of which have major highways used in trucking. LL