Border Imbalance: In the Rearview

Southern Border

Reports of delays from the Southern border in Texas came in fast and furious when Governor Abbott ordered authorities to inspect all commercial border-crossing trucks from Mexico last week. Causing huge delays and backlogs, many shippers warned consumers that the snaggled border would cause massive delays for food and produce shipments. Some trucks waited in lines that were ten, twelve, or even fourteen hours long – with no way to leave for facilities usage or food and drink without losing their CTPAT status and getting fired – an approximation of nearly $240 million in produce was lost during the time.

Secondary issues that arose from the situation included hodge-podge inspections of equipment that agents sped through to mitigate delays and wait times – setting unsafe equipment loose on the road. In fact, several truckers anonymously reported the inspections were skipping over checks on tires and other equipment to spend more time searching for the exact same items that CBP looks for, including people and contraband moving in from Mexico. 

A larger issue arises when trucks are on a schedule; one needs to leave point A to arrive and deliver at point B where they pick up and head to point C before making a final end at point D. When delays of this magnitude arise at point B, everything can fall apart at each point afterward, causing a domino effect of trouble for already beleaguered drivers. Loads are given to trucks that aren’t delayed, cutting off the later trip for truckers and forcing them to “deadhead” and drive with no cargo, when gas prices are higher than usual. 

The additional costs that consumers will see are breeding rage-filled consumers who are frustrated at these self-inflicted wounds from the governor and his inspections. Unfortunately, when it comes to fighting regulations, for many of us, our hands are tied and the best way we can help is to remain flexible, considerate, and even creative wherever possible. Because BIG Logistics isn’t burdened by a clogged up corporate structure, our people are empowered to act on the current situation in place and make improvements wherever possible. 

Pivoting on a dime to loading shipments piecemeal to ensure our clients have inventory, we at BIG don’t have to wait for everything to arrive to consolidate cargo and get it back on the road. We have adjusted to opening late for deliveries from drivers who have spent days stuck, making sure they have safe parking and accommodations whenever possible. It’s our goal to build space between the dominoes of disruption and find ways to increase efficiency and support when difficulties arise like they did last week. If we need to come in early, we can. If we need to stay late, we will. 

What BIG Logistics understands (which seems to have escaped the agencies) is that customers only remember the last mistake you make and not the number of successes before. It won’t matter how efficient your inspections have been when they’re sitting for a day, thirsty, frustrated and unable to find relief. We don’t have a magic wand, we just understand that chaos management is best handled with a cool head and a team of empowered experts who are familiar with difficult situations and the myriad ways they can respond and make things better. 

If you’re dealing with the fallout of excessive trucking delays and need to find guidance, reach out to your BIG Logistics representative to hear how we can help.