SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — With several holidays forcing the closure of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry’s commercial side this month, truckers fear their salaries will be greatly affected, and they’re asking both governments to consider keeping the crossings open.
Coincidentally, trucking companies say this is the time of the year when firms traditionally increase their shipments, generating more of a need for transport.
“For every day the crossing is closed, it takes six days to catch up on shipments,” said Alfonso Millán Chávez, president of the National Transport Chamber in Tijuana.
He warned that other truckers would try to take on as many trips as possible to make up for their losses, which, in turn, creates even more congestion around the port of entry and residential neighborhoods and streets in the area.
“From October through December, exports go up by 30 percent,” said Millán Chávez. “The customs people on the United States side are already operating at 70 percent of capacity, I hope both countries reconsider closures during the holidays and find a solution.”
Mexico has two holidays during November, on the 2nd and 20th of the month.
In the U.S., the commercial side of the port of entry is closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the day after.
“It’s not just opening during the holidays, but better infrastructure needs to be created along with more personnel on inspection lanes,” said Millán Chávez. “If they could at least open from eight in the morning till five in the evening, it would be a big help.”
He also stated losses to truck drivers have been escalating in recent months as long crossing times — ranging from six to eight hours — persist.
On an average day, anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 trucks cross the border from Mexico into the U.S., bringing anything from lumber to televisions to fruits and vegetables.