U.S. and Mexico Customs authorities in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, working alongside Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railroad and KCS Mexico Railroad, celebrated the opening of a Unified Cargo Processing facility near the Laredo rail bridge border crossing. The new facility, paid for predominantly by KCS, will allow Mexico’s Servicio de Administracion Tributaria (SAT) Officers to be stationed on the U.S. side of the rail bridge and review scanned images of northbound rail cars taken from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) non-intrusive inspection (NII) machine, rather through than the SAT machine on the south side, thus eliminating duplicative northbound scans and reducing stoppage time for trains.
Laredo is the busiest commercial land border crossing in the U.S. and the potential for growth in rail freight, particularly via the energy sector is strong. Currently, about 23 trains/day run north and south across the single-track rail bridge. However, this number can be significantly increased if additional process improvements, like this new facility, are created at the bridge, where trains are currently required to stop for a variety of reasons. If both countries border management authorities and private rail carriers are able to continue to cooperate in this manner going forward, security and economic gains will be made by both countries.
More information on the initiative can be read on American Shipper and LMT Online.
Physical vs. Virtual Validations When will in-person validations begin again? The CTPAT program is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and making program decisions in-line with U.S. CBP regarding travel, etc. The