blockaded the northbound commercial crossing at Otay Mesa in Tijuana,
Mexico, Oct. 14, to protest long waits they say they face getting
shipments processed through the U.S.-Mexico border, The San Diego
entrance to the U.S. Customs inspection facility was blocked while
a group of drivers urged quicker, more efficient inspections and
greater cooperation between U.S. and Mexican customs officials.
truckers presented a two-page list of demands to U.S. and Mexican
border officials, saying they are being subjected to "mistreatment,
discrimination and tortuguismo – tortoise-like behavior."
truckers had just had enough," said Carolyn Goding, transportation
chair of the San Diego Brokers Association and president of Lax
Freight Services and International Automated Brokers.
maquiladora manufacturers stepped up shipments in the past four
weeks for the upcoming holiday season, waits to enter the U.S. Customs
facility reportedly have grown from a couple of hours to four to
six hours, causing backups that extend at least three miles along
the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana.
cargo is carried by Mexican short-distance haulers, known as mules,
who drop containers in San Ysidro and return to Mexico to pick up
new shipments as many times as they can in one day.
truckers say Mexico's facility fails to open on time and that processing
is inefficient, requiring drivers to run back and forth between
Ramos, 46, who was hauling 2,300 pounds of aluminum parts destined
for Long Beach to be recycled, had been waiting in line nearly four
hours and still was in the back.
was about to fall asleep," he said as he dusted off his truck's
shiny red exterior.
Jose Escalante, who was carrying 13 tons of tomatoes from Baja California's
San Quintin Valley to U.S. grocery stores, stayed cool in the exhaust-heavy
heat by eating an ice cream cone.
had been fielding nervous calls all morning, he said, from a company
worried that its vegetables would have to be returned, even though
the truck was refrigerated. Many buyers of Mexican produce require
that the items be kept in the trucks a limited amount of time to
were asking me, 'Why is there so much disorder there?'" he