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How To Secure Capacity for Cross-Border Freight
Eric Meyer, Landstar Transportation Logistics executive vice president, operations, shared this advice about securing capacity for freight crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the July issue of Inbound Logistics.
Shipping freight across the U.S.-Mexico border is a complex operation and requires a trusted, reliable logistics provider.
With 80 percent of Mexico’s exports currently coming to the U.S., and with so many companies having their own Mexican entities for building or supplying components, the overall supply chain between the U.S. and Mexico has become very integrated, making cross-border trade a significant part of the logistics market for both countries.
For shippers, importing to and exporting from Mexico can present a unique set of challenges. One of the toughest challenges that cross-border shippers in today’s market face is securing high quality capacity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Managing the Imbalance
Cross-border capacity not only includes trucks, but also the ability to manage trailer capacity. The latter is important due to the trade imbalances that occur between the U.S. and Mexico markets, namely that there are more loads coming into the U.S. than going out.
There are, for instance, several states within Mexico that have outbound freight to the U.S. but very few inbound shipments coming back. Shippers attempting cross-border transportation on their own have to know how to manage the imbalances, and how to figure out solutions that get the trucks to come back to the border. One way to tackle this is to work with a transportation provider with experience in handling this imbalance.
As capacity continues to tighten, or as there’s less capacity available in the marketplace, shippers are more apt to find other solutions to get their freight picked up and delivered. If your shipment doesn’t require a full trailer, Less-than-truckload (LTL) consolidation can serve as a cost-effective solution to cross-border freight challenges when time is not critical.
The company a shipper chooses to work with should offer transloading, or transferring a shipment from one truck to another, and shipment consolidation capabilities. Transloading consolidates the LTL freight moving south freeing up truckload capacity to handle more deconsolidated shipments moving north. This makes capacity more accessible by leveling the imbalance between the truck, the trailer and the load.
Additionally, a qualified cross-border carrier should be able to provide a shipper with alternate modes of transportation if a truck is not the best solution for your freight.
Benefits of Facilities with Cross-Docks
Transportation management providers can use their facilities to balance the needs of the customer with the shifts in available capacity to provide the best solution. These balance shifts, which can occur daily, must be managed accordingly to maximize each and every available capacity unit.
Cross-dock facilities allow for increased trailer asset and capacity utilization, which provides customers more options to get their products safely through the border and to the ultimate destination.
Choosing One Provider Capable Of Handling Your Cross-Border Logistics
As U.S. companies expand their presence in Mexico or increase trade with companies in Mexico, the need for reliable logistics providers that can successfully navigate the intricacies of such freight movements will only increase. Working with one provider that can handle the moves from origin to destination, or selecting providers on a piecemeal basis to manage certain aspects of a move, depends largely on the shipper’s current infrastructure, its own internal expertise and knowledge of the market.
If you have employees who can manage multiple layers of the process, then you may be able to ‘fill in’ as needed with providers that specialize in certain aspects of the cross-border supply chain. A growing number of shippers are outsourcing all of their logistics requirements—from pickup to customs brokerage to delivery—and focusing instead on their core businesses. Shippers should work with a transportation provider that can offer a one-bill solution for all types of cargo crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
For more information on Landstar’s U.S.-Mexico cross-border transportation services, call 800-872-9474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.