Peaks In The Valley
Trade reaches new heights in the Rio Grande
Border crossings through Hidalgo account for $30 billion in goods, an increase of 98 percent from 2003. The Hidalgo Port also contributes jobs to the state’s economy (over 50,000) and more than $7 billion in gross domestic product.
The Intelligent Bridge
While there are 12 border crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, the Pharr International Bridge is by far the most critical to the produce trade. As the only full-service commercial bridge in the Valley, this 3.2-mile long crossing connects Pharr with Reynosa.
Do you have any industry predictions for 2018?
Luis Bazan, Pharr International Bridge
“I know it’s going to be a big year for [Pharr International Bridge] based on the latest studies. We’re growing right now. We ended the year on a high note, with 5 percent growth across the board. I know Laredo ended at 4 percent, and that’s a good indicator for us for what the future holds—and we’re preparing for the future. We’re going to see tremendous growth in the next two years. We want to make sure to accommodate the growth that’s coming.”
Armando Flores, Ace Customs Broker, Inc.
“I believe that foreign fresh produce will decline, and therefore the ultimate consumer will pay a little more for it.”
Jerry Garcia, London Fruit, Inc.
“The country is probably going to get a higher volume of avocados and mangos coming in, especially out of Mexico. We expect to grow in all three products: avocados, mangos, and limes. We’re working on growing and hiring people to accommodate that growth.”
Roger Lucero, Villita Avocados, Inc.
“Determination on what the United States decides to do with NAFTA is going to be the big factor when it comes to our (Mexico) trade with both the United States and Canada. We deal with both countries quite a bit.”
“This is the sixth largest and most important land port of entry in the nation, as compared to other land ports, seaports, and airports in the United States,” states Bazan. “And we’re the fourth largest and most important land port of entry with Mexico.”
The Pharr Bridge, which boasts the fastest commercial crossing in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, has come a long way since it first opened in 1994. Today, there are first-rate facilities and cutting-edge technology, including gamma ray inspection equipment and cold storage units to keep produce fresh and safe for distributors on both sides of the border.
It is also one of only three international bridges implementing the Free and Secure Trade program (FAST), which provides expedited entry for produce shippers. Thanks to its state-of-the-art technology, Mexican residents often refer to it as “The Intelligent Bridge” or the “Port of Entry of the 21st Century.”
Expansion & Improvements
According to Bazan, an average of 4,300 trucks cross over the Pharr International Bridge every day, including 2,300 northbound and 2,000 southbound vehicles.