Thursday, July 7, 2011

Safety, security destined to suffer thanks to cross-border plan

After reading the final plan for a cross-border trucking program with Mexico, I can tell you that the opportunities for ranting and raving are plentiful.

The one that I cannot let go is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s repeated insistence that our southern border is a model of safety and security thanks to some sort of amazing oversight.

Before I rip their point to shreds, I do want to point out that there are men and women who work border security and work their hinds end off doing it. They care and they truly want to protect our country.

Now, back to the shredding….

In the final cross-border trucking program plan, FMCSA officials state that the agency “and its state partners have sufficient staff, facilities, equipment and procedures in place to meet the requirements of this pilot program. This conclusion is based on the agency’s experience providing safety oversight for Mexico-domiciled motor carriers currently authorized to operate within the border zones ...”

I think you get the gist. Their current border inspection program is their proof-positive that everything will be just fine.

It would be a lot easier to believe if they would cough up some real numbers. Sifting through what is publicly available makes coming up with a true percentage dicey.

To start off, FMCSA is still only reporting the total number of inbound trucks from Mexico for 2008 and earlier. No 2009 or 2010 stats on total crossings.

As far as “border” inspections, there’s no clear cut data provided there either. You can get “roadside inspection” data all the way through 2010.

So just for grins, if you take the 4.9 million trucks coming into the U.S. in 2008, and only 224,562 roadside inspections, that means only 4.6 percent of Mexico-domiciled carriers entering the U.S. encountered roadside inspections.

Something tells me that number is really high. Especially since it’s been reported to Congress that the inspection rate is closer to 1-2 percent.

I should also note that while FMCSA fails to report total border crossings for 2010, the rate of roadside inspections dropped 14.4 percent.

You don’t even have to have a criminal mind to see how that plays out for the cartels.

They send a sacrificial mule through in a junk truck and trailer with a couple hundred pounds of pot. The poor sap behind the wheel doesn’t have a license. There are no papers showing insurance, cargo or anything.

The drug dog hits. You have a full-on inspection, drug interdiction right there at the border. Investigators come in. Pictures are taken. Drugs are carted off in a “record” seizure.

Meanwhile, the cartel just sent through 10, 15, 20 more nice trucks loaded to the gills. No one checks. They’re all busy with the big “bust.” For the cartels, that one truck and small load lost is simply the cost of doing business.

For every truck that is inspected, resources are pulled away from monitoring the traffic and monitoring the traffic isn’t enough.

Yet FMCSA has the gall to tell the public in the final plan – which they signed before releasing it for comment – that “FMCSA is not aware of any information that would suggest the pilot program will increase the extent to which illegal activities occur.”

They want us to rest assured that the pilot program won’t add to the traffic since so many of the Mexican motor carriers that will apply for long-haul authority already operate in the border zone.

However, this program dictates that FMCSA will take its overworked border staff and make them inspect poster children companies who join the cross-border program. These companies will have nice trucks and legit drivers. They will put their best foot forward.

In the meantime, more suspect loads will cross because of the dog-and-pony-show cross-border program sucking up inspectors’ time.

Face it, when you logically break it down, the already puny resources at the border intended to keep our country safe and secure were just handed a significant blow – despite what FMCSA says.

14 comments:

  1. I agree 100% this is a slap in the face to our National Security , Customs Border Patrol whom many i know and yes they do work their buts off most of all our troops who are far away fighting to protect the front door while the back is wide open.

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  2. I wish I could be a "fly on the wall" at the Texas scales and watch a DPS officer telling a Mexican driver (who can't speak English) why he's been put out of service!!

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  3. The sky is falling, the sky is falling seems to be the mantra of OOIDA, when in fact there is just a few wispy dark clouds overhead. In the over all picture of our economic relationship with Mexico, this cross border pilot program is the first step towards creating a more stable economy in Mexico. Thus creating less of a security crisis for the US. This is not going to be the security nightmare OOIDA claims. It will actually create a much more secure border as the drayage system is phased out. This will create fewer opportunities for the cartels and others to use the trailers staged at the border for their illicit activities of transporting drugs, guns and undocumented individuals across the US Mexican border. Trucks will be loaded and sealed at point of loading and remain sealed and in the control and custody of a single carrier and driver all the way to it's destination in the US or Mexico.

    The majority of the security inspections will take place at the point of loading with the use of x-ray and scanning at the border. there will be far less opportunity for the truck and trailer to be compromised.

    On top of this many of the companies whose products will be transported across the border have a vested interest in maintaining the security and integrity of their shipments. As this is a very integral part of their manufacturing process. Many shipments are components being shipped between US factories and Mexican assembly plants for the same US based company. The last thing they will allow is for their loads to be compromised.

    The actual number of trucking jobs which will be impacted by this program is less than .1 percent.

    I just wish OOIDA would provide all the facts and not just the ones that support their "sky is falling" agenda.

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  4. successful trucker, who are you kidding. I see so many of these trucks that are in bad shape and hear from my driver, that to go any border cities, is an accident waiting to happen. If they are allowed to pick up freight in the U.S., many owner-operators will end up out of business for the simple fact they'll take lesser pay. So our guys suffer because the shippers can get away with using their trucks instead. The last time we lost many drivers and their trucks because of this and the economy and now we could possibly loss the rest because they don't have the money to operate like the big dogs. The shippers will have to use whatever trucks they can get then. You see my point. It's about time people start thinking of the peope here and not in every other country. Our money needs to stay here and not go out of country. Why do you think we are in such a economic diaster? Companies moved their manufacturing overseas = out of country and just have their offices here and there in is the problem. They can't get taxed for what isn't here. So they pay less taxes and we pay more to support every other other country. What's up with that? As to security, that's a laugh. we don't have any. Every day, I hear of a hispanic killing someone, molesting a child or woman, beating a woman up or child. They don't live a civilized life. Real men don't do that. Only cowards attach women and children. This is not the wild west where a single word can get you killed or is it? Think about it. Whether it is trucks or guns, more people are injured either by unsafe trucks or the coming loss of revenue by these trucks. I'll leave it at that. Think about it!!!!!

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  5. Anonymous, the trucks you are referring to are border drayage trucks just like many of the trucks that pull out of our ports. These trucks would never be used for OTR any more than the port trucks would.

    Have you ever traveled in Mexico? I have and the trucks that run their highways are the same as the vast majority of US owned trucks operating on our highways.

    Like I said if you use OOIDA as your only resource for information on cross border trucking it will be incomplete. I don't really understand the prejudice OOIDA seems to hold toward Mexican carriers.

    I have worked with several Mexican carriers for many years and frankly find them more safety consciousness than many of the large US carriers when it comes to who they allow to operate their trucks.

    The good news is all these rattle trap trucks on the border will go to the scrap heap as this program expands.

    You can continue drinking the OOIDA Kool aide or actual find there are a lot more facts and information to this then they've been telling their members.

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  6. OOIDA continues to review the research, actually read the plans and show the weaknesses in this program.

    More than 1 million jobs have been lost in the U.S. because of NAFTA. Manufacturing facilities moved there for one reason CHEAP labor.

    I know plenty of Mexicans and Mexican nationals who are the greatest people on earth. It's nothing against them, it's against the inequities between our two worlds.

    This program is designed to create the apathy you display.

    If anyone is being played here, it's you -- by the DOT, FMCSA and the Obama administration.

    Believe what you want. But, crack that door open any more than it already is, and trucking here will truthfully never be the same.

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  7. Hey, Anon (comment 4)let's just leave the racism out of this, Hispanics are not any more prone to be child molesters or participate in domestic violence than the next guy. That just lessens the point---mainly that this is about finding cheaper labor to exploit and looking for a political system without labor safeguards who is all to happy to enable this.

    Regarding Successful Truckers sham of an argument, I wonder if he's ever hauled produce and seen just how many US Citizens are currently working in the argribusiness sector at the production level?

    This used to be an American Worker dominated sector but thanks to a lax enforcement based economy, now it is almost entirely made up of individuals working either in an undocumented or guest worker capacity, and many of those who claim to be US Citizens are using fake ID. Been to a meat packing plant or french fy manufacturing facility, like ever?

    OOIDA is not alarmist in their position and your faith or belief in the good intentions and law abiding capacity and onduct of US Business and Trucking Interests is naive at best--- but more likely a dishonest distraction.

    We are not Mexico and our values are hardly similar. What part of 40,000 deaths have you missed due to drug cartel violence? The gladiator like hijackings where bus passengers fight to their deaths on the side of the highway? Can you be that far out of the loop or is your misinformation intentional?

    And how did you miss all the scandals regarding current US carrier atrocities--everything from fake CDL mills to refusing to hand over log books in fatal accident investigations? Do you really think carriers who already participate in this lawlessness will be such honest citizens once the last crumb of accountability and scrutiny is removed from their operations? Especially when they can import their labor from a political landscape already recognized as having zero accountability? I don't know what planet you live on but it certainly isn't one based in current economic realities.

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  8. to timbo-We haul potatoes, onions, apples, pears, peaches. we also work with several US/ Mexican mgfs

    Only time will tell who is correct. The difference is we've been doing business in Mexico with Mexican truckers for the better part of 30 years. We work with several Grandfathered Mexican carriers who have had full access to the US market since before deregulation in 1980. We are making our statements based in real world experience. Not from a prejudiced view point with out foundation or actual experience.

    I should note that most of the Mexican carriers who haul for us have rates that are higher than what US carriers accept. I can also say we have had far few problems with shipments which are hauled from Origin to Destination (US to Mexico or vice versa) on one truck and trailer without changing the power unit or driver.

    I stand by my statement that OOIDA is alarmist and only presenting facts which support their agenda.

    The full facts are available and not hard to find. But the prejudice has to be dropped to see the truth.

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  9. Jami give them hell you hit it right onthe nose

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  10. It really is a shame that OOIDA and Teamsters chose to turn to an acknowledged hate group such as FAIR to spread their misinformation and propaganda among the virulent racists who follow those groups.

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  11. Sorry, successful trucker, you're still only one side of the coin. You can't get a balanced picture by only seeing the rosy side. It's no more realistic to expect everyone to be like you than it is to assume everyone from down south has a crappy truck. There may very well be a few of you who are law abiding etc. Well, I doubt you'll get the other side to post a comment but not everyone has it together like your company seems to and that's what others of us who live on the border are complaining about. And folks like you who cannot or will not, see the problems that others are facing (in real life) leaves very little for you and others like us to talk about. At the very least, regardless of whether it's ultimately a good idea or not, I have severe issues with the transparently non-transparent way the agreement was done, and the fact that we are supposed to help pay for boxes on equipment not our own. Putting aside that this agreement will eventually make my job extinct (that's fact, not fiction, there's a little real life for you) trade agreements are changed every year with Canada, sometimes twice a year, and yet the Nafta agreement is considered bible wherein it applies to Mexico. There's a lot of bullshit going around and who do you trust to sift through it all? It won't be you. Good day to you sir.

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  12. I take exception to anyone saying that OOIDA is an alarmist organization. While I do not necessarily agree that the trucks that will come here will be unsafe, Mexican carriers are not stupid and will not want to pay the high repair bills found here; nor do I agree that the drivers will be any more unsafe than American ones are, I do agree that the possibility for increased smuggling exists.

    Reports are coming in that drug cartels have been buying into trucking concerns, anyone who does not think they will find ways to smuggle both people and drugs into the US is not thinking.

    This whole thing is about economics for the most part, not about the Mexican people themselves. Personally, I think they should take their country over and fix the problems there instead of coming here, but that is just my opinion.

    http://www.mexicomanufacturingnews.com/

    Wonder why companies are moving south?

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35749.htm

    Note the economic part

    http://supplychain.tamu.edu/pdf/North_American_Regional_Manufacturing.pdf

    Read the whole report...

    http://4wheeldrive.about.com/b/2010/05/23/polaris-to-take-mfg-jobs-to-mexico.htm

    Note on this one the reference to logistics issues...

    You can throw numbers around anyway ya'll want to, but use some logic instead of statistics...if a company that is headquartered here, yet has manufacturering plants in Mexico(or further south) can ship parts brought in from elsewhere here (or in the slim chance the parts are made here) directly to their Mexican concerns and then bring those manufactured items directly back up here to their DC centers, they cut out the middle men and time lost ie: transfers at the border. (The carriers have seen this writing on the wall for the last several years and is one of the reasons why many are going to a more regional and intermodal operation) This of course increases their bottom lines. Right now, American truckers are bringing the things to and from the border...who is going to be cut out?

    Then too, lets not forget the mega ports being planned for Mexico and which I think are under construction now if I remember right

    http://www.mexidata.info/id1278.html

    http://seaport.homestead.com/files/colonet.html

    ...lots of freight will be coming here from there and then there is the Chinese who own/control the Panama canal and who've deepened it for container ships...the reasons behind TX superhighway, the plan for Mexican customs control of American freight along it and the new intermodel center in KC.

    http://www.warriorsfortruth.com/mexican-customs-on-us-soil.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_SmartPort

    You think that Americans will be hauling those containers from the border to the intermodel center and back? Nope.

    Anyone who does not think this will eventually cost American driving jobs is not looking behind the propoganda IMO.

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  13. I stand by my statement that OOIDA is alarmist on this particular issue. And whether it is their intention or not, their approach is going to have a negative impact once the cross border truck gets rolling. They can do all the delays they want but the fact is there are business organizations much larger and far more powerful than OOIDA that need and want this to begin: Pork producers, Dairy producers, potato growers, Apple and other fruit growers, produce growers, manufacturing. Mexico is our second largest trading partner, second only to Canada. These organizations represent far more workers and businesses than OOIDA's 160,000 + and are going to get this thing through come hell or high water. From what I’ve heard, Rep. DeFazio is going to be in for the campaign fight of his life for his support of OOIDA on this. This is going to happen, like it or not. But what concerns me the most is the way this has been presented. The fact that OOIDA has allowed FAIR (a known racist anti-immigration organization) to latch on to this cross-border issue on OOIDA's shirttails can bring nothing but negativity and potential violence against innocent Mexican truckers who are doing the same as every US trucker...trying to support their families.

    All this alarmist crap like that cartels are getting into the trucking business, and that the violence will spill over the border and so on. Like the Crips and the Bloods on this side aren’t in the trucking business in the US? That organized crime hasn’t controlled certain segments of trucking like concrete and the teamsters? That is what law enforcement is set to combat. It’s obvious that the majority of folks on this thread don’t have a clue to the scrutiny and security checks both blatant and unknown by the carrier and trucker every trailer and truck goes through coming across the southern border. Not that something or someone slips trough from time to time, but that is not going to increase and will most likely decrease once the program is in full swing. (Less time trailers sit unattended less opportunity for it to be compromised.)

    This is all about fear of change, fear of a different culture; fear that you won’t understand a conversation between two truckers speaking Mexican Spanish. And fright brought forward by alarmists using fear mongering to get their way. But the collateral damage to this fear mongering is a hand full of crazies that take it to the violent level. Prejudice may be unintended, but this type of alarmist fear mongering brings out the worst in people not the best. I hope to God I’m wrong, but history indicates otherwise.

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  14. OOIDA does not tolerate, endorse or invite prejudice or racist remarks targeted at the Mexican people. The Association position on the cross-border program is strictly targeted at the governments forcing this program forward without regard to its impact on highway safety, national security and financial well-being.

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