Intermodal on the Rise in Mexico
Mexico’s rail capabilities have evolved significantly over the past decade, as Carlos Godinez, Intermodal Director, Mexico at Transplace, discussed in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. “It’s been a 180 degree change,” in terms of infrastructure and service improvements, with approximately $5 billion in investments made since 1997. The change is most evident for cross-border intermodal shipments between the United States and Mexico:
“In the past, an intermodal train originating in Chicago, for example, used to stop at the border [before crossing into Mexico]. Just imagine a train hauling anywhere from 100 to 250 containers or “piggy backs,” with each of those containers representing a different importer and broker. So, a lot of coordination was required to have pedimentos [customs entry forms] completed for every one of those containers, which was a very inefficient process.
Today, these trains are documented at the origin ramp [in the U.S.] and they are coming bonded and pre-cleared, so they do not have to stop at the border, which eliminates [all the paperwork and customs activity] that happened at Laredo, which was like the Bermuda Triangle…The trains are coming through Laredo and connecting with either Ferromex or Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM) — the connection process takes about a couple of hours — and then it takes 1-2 days for the trains to reach the interior ramps in the country.
So, significant changes have occurred from a transit time perspective and in the levels of service and ramp options now available in Mexico.”
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