Texas Governor Delivers Higher Prices & Scarcity This Holiday Weekend

by Deedra Abboud in Political, Religion, Social Views, Travel
April 16, 2022 0 comments

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new policy for Texas state trooper commercial vehicle safety inspections at the 13 commercial crossings along approximately 1,200 miles of border with Mexico, announced last week, has caused some trucks to be stuck in traffic for more than 30 hours, with some lines up to seven miles long, prompting desperate calls from fruit and vegetable importers, the automobile industry, and other executives who claim their products are being caught up in a political stunt.

These delays will result in the loss of produce, exacerbate our supply chain issues, raise consumer costs, and have a severe negative impact on Texas jobs and the local and state economies, as well as large sums of money lost at our ports of entry.  

The Mexican government and business sector have responded strongly to the deliberate congestion, claiming that it is generating massive economic losses and “inhumane conditions” for truck drivers caught up in the gridlock.

According to Mexico’s National Chamber of Cargo Transportation, the losses are primarily hurting the manufacturing industry, the automobile industry, technology products, and perishable goods. 

But the bottlenecks are more than just a loss of time for drivers and businesses.

Produce deteriorate in the heat as idled vehicles run out of the fuel required to keep fruits and vegetables refrigerated. Refrigerated vehicles have enough fuel to power their refrigeration equipment for around six or seven days.  After that, spoilage is certain.

According to the Texas International Produce Association, almost $9 billion in fresh produce — 1.28 billion pounds — flows into Texas from Mexico each year. 

Many Texas workers are currently unpaid since there is no product to work with and no trucks to load and unload, while Texas-sourced products bound for Mexican markets sit idle, waiting for empty trucks to arrive.

According to the chamber, Mexican trucks crossing the border are already subjected to inspections on the Mexican side. 

Every day, at ports of entry, employees of the United States Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) work for the American people, ensuring the efficient flow of lawful trade and travel that is so important to a strong economy, while enforcing hundreds of different laws for multiple federal, state, and local agencies. 

CBP implements a comprehensive border approach, including x-rays and sniffing dogs, to detect and disrupt illicit behavior, including narcotics and human smuggling, identify individuals and transactions for increased inspection, and ensure exotic plant pests and foreign animal diseases are not imported into the country. 

Texas state police, on the other hand, are not legally permitted to inspect the cargo of these trucks; they may only look for mechanical problems, such as faulty brakes, tires, or taillights.

Texas currently has 29 official U.S. ports of entry, more than any other state, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. With the Republican governor clogging almost all commercial ports of entry, the delays have raised concerns that a U.S. economy already dealing with inflation and supply shortages could face an entirely new set of issues, potentially driving up prices on certain products and making other items even harder to obtain.

The Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development estimates that about $442 billion in trade will pass through Texas ports of entry in 2021. 

According to Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, the border crossing sites in Texas subject to the heightened inspections normally handle one-third of bilateral trade.

Commercial travel through Texas ports of entry has dropped by up to 60% in the last week. 

And transportation shortages are increasing as available trucks are stuck in line to cross the border, all of which will continue to drive up the price of produce in US grocery stores.

According to Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, the governor’s intention to have state officials analyze the mechanical functions of each truck has resulted in up to 80% of perishable fruits and vegetables being unable to pass since Friday.

Meanwhile, shippers hurried to reroute and grocers scrambled to fill empty shelves with supplies from other sources in the run-up to the Easter and Passover holidays.

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