Commercial traffic at a key South Texas border crossing has been halted due to a trucker protest on the Mexican side of the border, added to fears of more supply chain disruptions for fresh produce, according to Bloomberg.
The Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, one of the busiest trade crossings in the Rio Grande Valley and handles a large volume of Mexican produce, including avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes, closed in both directions after Mexican truckers blocked the port of entry in a move to express their discontent with Abbott's new rules to enhance searches of 18-wheelers for drugs.
The truckers say Abbott's order to add another layer of inspections has slowed down their transit time through the port of entry and is why they're holding a protest.
"The commercial traffic at Pharr International Bridge is currently halted temporarily, in both directions, due to a protest occurring on the Reynosa side of the bridge and due to no southbound movement by U.S. carriers," U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. "Under established business resumption protocols, northbound commercial traffic is diverted to neighboring ports of entry in the interim."
🚨 The busy Pharr-Reynosa bridge remains temporarily closed this morning. It’s a major route for produce into the U.S. from berries to 🥑. Controversial expanded safety inspections under new initiative by Gov. Abbott appear paused. pic.twitter.com/kk3dRH77ax— Dianne Solis ✍🏽 (@disolis) April 12, 2022
As of 0945 ET, live camera feeds from the bridge showed no southbound or northbound traffic.
On Tuesday, Mexico's Deputy Trade Minister Luz Maria de la Mora sent a letter to Abbott with hopes to resolve port delays and keep trade flowing. Though nothing has been resolved as of Wednesday morning, truckers are being rerouted to other ports of entry nearby, causing widespread traffic jams.
Jerry Maldonado, president of the Laredo Motor Carriers Association, told Bloomberg that wait times at the Laredo port of entry jumped to 4 hours from the usual 30 minutes following the disruptions at Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.
Dante Galeazzi, chief executive officer of the Texas International Produce Association, warned in an open letter to Abbott that his new search "order has wreaked havoc up and down our supply chain and is likely to leave state store shelves with limited fresh produce supplies."