The Department of Transportation on Friday approved one Mexican trucking company’s request to operate on U.S. highways but placed a second carrier’s plans to join a cross-border trucking pilot project on hold pending a safety review.
Transportes Olympic, a Monterrey-based carrier, completed a safety audit to become the first Mexican trucking company to receive Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration permission to operate beyond the U.S. commercial border zone. That triggered the suspension of the last of the $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs Mexico placed on U.S. products in 2009 after Congress killed a Bush-era cross-border trucking program. Half those tariffs were suspended this summer.
The suspended tariffs will be eliminated entirely when Mexican truckers are able to gain U.S. operating authority similar to that held by Canadian truckers, who may haul international freight to and from the U.S. but not U.S. domestic cargo. Another Mexican carrier, Grupo Behr of Baja California, will have to wait to join the program until regulators review objections raised against its application by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Teamsters union.
The OOIDA and Teamsters pointed out that Grupo Behr’s vehicle out-of-service rate and maintenance scores were worse than the U.S. average. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety noted the carrier had 40 vehicle violations in the last two years.
“Based on the information provided by Advocates, OOIDA, and Teamsters, the agency is conducting additional reviews of Grupo Behr's inspections and vehicles,” the FMCSA said in an Oct. 14 Federal Register notice.
“As a result, the Agency will not issue long- haul operating authority to Grupo Behr until such time as this review is complete,” said the FMCSA. However, it passed Transportes Olympic and issued long-haul U.S. authority to the company.
Three U.S. trucking companies, Plastic Express of California, A&R Transport of Illinois and Stage Coach Cartage & Distribution of Texas, have been granted permits to haul international cargo in Mexico, the Mexican Embassy in Washington said.