EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Truck drivers are reporting delays of up to a day to cross their cargo from Mexico to the United States at the principal commercial land port in the El Paso region.
The drivers and the president of a trucking association are blaming the delays on computer problems, mostly on the Mexican side of the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection acknowledged sporadic cargo computer system slowdowns in the past week, but said all systems were working as intended on Tuesday.
“Even with the system issues we were able to keep wait times manageable and had a view of the end of the queue (of trucks) most of the time,” CBP said in an email to Border Report. “That said, we are experiencing slowdowns for short periods” of time.
CBP’s border wait times page on Tuesday showed trucks were getting across from Mexico in less than an hour all morning. But the waits had more than doubled to 120 minutes by 2 p.m.
On the Mexican side, truckers and a trucking company executive attributed the recent spike in wait times to computer glitches associated with the transition in management between the old Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) and the new ANAM, which to a large degree relies on soldiers to conduct inspections.
“We had delays of up to eight hours last Friday. Dozens of trucks had to (park) overnight,” said Manuel Sotelo, president of the Juarez Transport Association, which represents several trucking companies. He estimates only 70 percent of a normal day’s cargo has been crossing the border since last week because of the computer glitches.
Independent trucker Ismael Armendariz on Tuesday morning stood outside his vehicle, as the line on the Mexican side had not moved in more than an hour.
“I got here at 7:30 (a.m.) and still haven’t crossed,” he said. “Some drivers say they’ve been here two to three days because of the paperwork. It’s taking (Mexico) 12 to 24 hours to process” some trucks.
Sotelo expects the delays to continue in the coming days, more so because of the Holy Friday closing of federal offices in Mexico.
More than 650,000 cargo trucks crossed the Ysleta port of entry in 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s four times as many as the trucks that used either the Bridge of the Americas or the neighboring Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry.