Is it really about safety or the color of the driver’s skin

Protest in MatamorosThe opponents and most vocal critics of the Mexican Pilot Program continue to insist their opposition is only about safety and concern over the economic impact a few Mexican trucks will have on their ability to earn a decent living. Their words and actions would suggest otherwise.Protest in Matamoros

Thursday, October 4, a small group of Mexican truckers gathered at the Matamoros-Brownsville International bridge to protest Mexico’s participation in the Demonstration Program

Parked along the curbs near the entrance to the Veterans International Bridge, the drivers demanded equal treatment for Mexican and American truckers.

American truckers get preferential treatment in Mexico, while Mexican truckers on the U.S. side of the border get tickets for no reason at all, said CANACAR. representative Alfredo Lartigue.

CANACAR membership consists of 35 Mexican carriers and about 150 Mexican owner operators.

“Only three or four American carriers have the equivalent of all the Mexican trucking units,” Lartigue said. “Just considering the number of units of both countries, we are not in equal conditions to compete against each other.”

Senor Lartigue has a point here, and the numbers seem to make my point that the debate has nothing to do with safety nor economic concerns.

In 2005, there were only 168,225 two- and three-axle tractors in all of Mexico, according to the national agency that supervises Mexican trucking, the Direccion General de Autotransporte Federal. The 269,000 valid CDLs in Mexico include drivers of all commercial vehicles, including buses, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Imagine that! 168,225 two and three axle tractors in the entire Republic of Mexico! Compared to more than 3,000,000 million registered in the United States. Mexican truckers holding 269,000 valid licencia federal de Conductor compared to 11,000,000 registered CDL holder in the United States according to CDLIS. That seems to be a very unlevel playing field with the odds overwhelmingly in favor of the United States, wouldn’t you say?

And the big bad Teamsters and others are worried about losing jobs? When the companies who have applied for authority to operate in the United States number less than 50 and with less than 200 trucks which have been cleared to participate? Something smells here.

I had the opportunity yesterday to sit down with Jerry Goana, President of Transportation for Ragar International Ltd. the company we are leased to and discuss this issue. Jerry has been in this business for more than 30 years. Ragar Ltd is a family owned international forwarding and transportation company.

Jerry confirmed some things I already knew and had previously reported here and enlightened me on other things I was uncertain of. As I do, he scoffs at the idea that this Pilot Program will encroach on owner operators income or ability to earn a living.

We discussed rates in Mexico and he confirmed what I already knew but put hard numbers on the table. For instance, the rate of haul between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey, a distance of 145 miles, is standard at $300.00 For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that is more than $2.00 per mile. Every load, every day! Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City? That is 720 miles with a rate of $1200-1500.00 every load, every day! Again $1.80 to more than $2.00 per mile. So much for the idea of cheap rates in Mexico. And this man should know. Ragar has a Mexican operation on the other side of the border.

So if you listen to the opposition, tens of thousands of Mexican trucks are preparing to “invade” the United States! How ridiculous. They are going to abandon the transportation needs of Mexico so they can come here and haul $.85 cpm freight? I don’t think so people.

As Jerry pointed out what I have opined in the past. Mexican trucks will come here servicing the needs of their customers in Mexico. That is their purpose. Transported Olympic has already proved this.

But you say, that is a load an American trucker could haul? True, maybe, but how can you lose something you never had?

Last year, 3.5 million freight crossings were made in Texas alone. And yearly, that number increases 2 to 4%. More than enough to offset the few Mexican carriers who will be operating here.

As I was leaving the office and returning to the house yesterday, I passed Melton Truck Lines terminal in Laredo. There were no less than 9 loads of structural steel, most probably from the same customer in Monterrey that Transportes Olympic serves. Gives on pause to think.

So while others are mounting smear campaigns against Mexico Trucker and myself personally, hurling accusations of lying and misrepresenting the facts, I wonder what their real agenda is? As the inbred hillbillies from south Arkansas continue to say, “We don’t want any Mexican Trucks in our country”. Why? What are you scared of? The color of their skin or the competition? Others are saying “No illegals driving illegal Mexican trucks”! That faction hasn’t a clue and deserves to be ignored.

Mexico Trucker continues to publish the truth, backed up with facts that cannot be dismissed by those who do not want the facts to get in the way of their prejudiced view of the issue.
So is it truly about safety or is it about something more deep seated and hateful? You be the judge.

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