Date: Friday, April 7, 2023
Problems with customs systems on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border have caused delays for cargo truck drivers at the port of entry in El Paso, Texas.
Over the past several days, hundreds of commercial trucks have reported waiting in hours-long lines to cross the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez through El Paso’s Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had intermittent computer issues over the last few days,” CBP spokesman Roger Maier told FreightWaves. “The matter on the U.S. side has been resolved and currently all systems are working as intended.”
CBP’s border wait times page on Wednesday showed trucks moving across the bridge from Mexico in 30 minutes or less. On Tuesday, truck crossings averaged more than an hour.
“Even with the system issues we were able to keep wait times manageable,” Maier said. “Once trucks crossed the border and entered our facilities they were cleared relatively quickly. Typically we had a view of the end of the queue on the bridge most of the time.”
More than 650,000 cargo trucks crossed through the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge in 2022, accounting for more than $73 billion in trade between the U.S. and Mexico.
Traffic on the Mexican side of the bridge has been moving much slower, with truckers waiting up to eight hours, according to Manuel Sotelo, president of the Juarez regional chapter of Mexico’s National Chamber of Freight Transport.
Sotelo told the Border Report wait times increased due a transition between the Mexican Tax Administration Service, which had been operating the country’s border customs system for decades, to a new system overseen by the military.
Sotelo also expects long lines for cargo trucks through the end of the week because of the Good Friday closing of federal offices in Mexico.
“This coming Friday, commercial customs activity will be suspended at the international bridges and consequently imports and exports between the two countries will be paralyzed,” Sotelo told the Juarez Herald.