A new rule taking effect next week in Texas addresses the increase in trade traffic using the Mazatlan-Matamoros “superhighway.” The change is intended to aid perishable loads crossing into South Texas.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 1, the new law creates a grant program to reduce wait times for agricultural inspections at ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border. Specifically, local governments and private companies will be allowed to help pay for overtime and/or increased agricultural inspectors at international bridges during peak times.
The Texas Department of Agriculture will be responsible for monitoring and contracting the grant recipients to ensure compliance with state laws.
In 2014, more than 170,000 truckloads of produce crossed into Texas from Mexico. Advocates say the number will continue to grow as the superhighway transports more fresh produce from the western Mexico coast along the Texas border.
Due to staffing shortages at the state’s ports of entry, Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-McAllen, said trucks transporting produce experience long periods of delay or do not make it through the inspection process. As a result, the shelf life is lowered, which hurts the bottom line for Texas importers.
Guerra has also said that investing in the produce import industry is imperative for Texas.
“These ports of entry promote sustainable job growth in the surrounding communities, attract more businesses to invest in our state, and, most importantly, will bolster the Texas economy.”
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