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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Trucking & Logistics for Efficiency, Fuel Savings, and Air Quality

NAFTA Trucking Access to US is Disputed by Teamsters and Sierra club

NAFTA regulations require that shipping be open among Mexico, US and Canada -- security concerns arise as the agreement is tested in 2007

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August 30, 2007 -- SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bush administration urged a federal appeals court to let Mexican cargo trucks cross the border and freely travel anywhere in the United States, arguing that to do otherwise could strain diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico.

Government lawyers cotend that trucks enrolled in the program meet U.S. trucking regulations and the program is required by NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Participating Mexican carriers must comply with all legal requirements governing operations of domestically owned carriers, and in some cases stricter requirements.

NAFTA requires all roads in the United States, Mexico and Canada to be opened to carriers from all the three countries. Canadian trucking firms have full access to U.S. roads while Mexican trucks can only travel about 20 miles inside the country at certain border crossings like in San Diego and El Paso, Texas. The government's filing said some 4.5 million of those short trips across the U.S.-Mexico border are made each year.

Letting Mexican trucks travel throughout the U.S. would be a financial benefit to Mexican motor carriers who now transfer their loads at or near the border.

The government also argues that U.S. consumers will benefit because it will be less expensive to ship Mexican goods if Mexican carriers are given access to the entire country.

Teamsters President Jim Hoffa, expressed concern that Mexican truck drivers will be tested for drug and alcohol use, saying there are no drug testing labs in Mexico.

John Hill, DOT head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the testing will be done by U.S. companies.

SOURCE: North County Times

The impact on American truck driving jobs has not been addressed. Nor the increased security measures being implemented during these days to combat terrorism, drugs, contraband, and invasive species of plants, animals and insects -- as well as diseases. Airports, ports and borders are all part of our national security strategy.

Mexico's plans to develop both inland and ocean cargo ports to divert Chinese goods into central US states is not adequately addressed in the NAFTA debate that pertains to trade between Mexico, Canada and the US -- not China. China seems to be the main reason for this intermodal expansion...and China was not part of the NAFTA deal. How did China imports suddenly get included in the deal?

Pollution and alien species invasion are other areas of goods movement that has been increasingly addressed by California ports -- but may not be adequately addressed in new commercially-developed ports and terminals controlled by governments outside the US. Many natural resources are shared across the US/Mexico border -- including air flow, water flow, and invasion of alien species carried in bilge waters and in containers.

The controls and regulations to be addressed by corporate developers and other governments might not meet the stringent environmental regulations developed through decades of experience with public oversight of government-owned and operated California ports.

The best green solution(s) for transportation need to be addressed as these plans are considered; reduce, reuse, recycle and most of all, respect...for one's own neighbors and for our fragile environment. Only by addressing localization of production, reduced transportation distances and lower concentrated impact on fragile environmental systems, will we be able to deal with global warming, environmental damage and global security issues that affect agricultural production, and public health.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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