OOIDA – Good for a laugh on occasion

I couldn’t help but break out laughing, or as Stevie Sommers puts it, “chuckle”, listening to OOIDA and LandlineNow on XM-171 last Thursday, I think it was, when they brought up the almost dead subject of the Cross Border Program.

I think Mark Reddig was talking with their Washington lobbyist about the status of the program and the comment was made;

All of us at OOIDA are working full time to see this program is stopped in it’s tracks!

Yep, 10 months into the program, and they’re working full time to stop a program that has been successful beyond even what I had imagined.

There have not been the tens of thousand of dangerous and broke down Mexican trucks invading the United States as promised by Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen.

The drayage trucks used within the border commercial zones have not ventured beyond that zone nor have they applied for acceptance into the program by the OP-1MX application process, as Todd Spencer of OOIDA would have you believe.

The trucks participating in the program have done so safely and without apparent accidents and incidents, contrary to what Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters would have you believe.

And yes, it appears participation is less than expected. And there could be a reason for that.

Mexican carrier executives are no different from their American and Canadian counterparts. They are in business to make money. If they don’t see the opportunity, they are not going to participate.

Fernando Paez of Transportes Olympics of Apodaca Nuevo Leon is a prime example. He has contracts with RegioMontano Steel of Monterrey to service their customers in the US and to return to Monterrey with raw materials for that customers. This he has done and done so with great success. And has his entry into the US freight market caused any economic hardship on American carriers or depressed the rates? Doubtful! Melton Truck lines hauls the same product and their terminal in Laredo Texas is full of trailer with the same product.

The carrier out of Mexicali, Transportes Rafa, with an account to provide a customer in California’s Central Valley with fruit baskets. How many American carriers are lined up to take this business away from the Rafa Bros.? Not many!

It was said by all the critics that these trucks would be used to transport drugs and illegals into the country and indeed, some of the South Arkansas tin hat crowd suggested nuclear materials for weapons. Guess what! Non of this has happened and won’t!

Sure, there have been stories of trucks being stopped and discovered to have drugs or illegals in them. But it has been proven here and on official government sites that the drugs and illegals come across the border by other means, stockpiled in safe houses until an American trucker, looking for a little quick cash, is stupid enough to accept a load.

Some are suggesting that FMCSA will try to extend the program by a year or two in order to bolster the statistics. Personally, I would think a year without accident or incident, coupled with the Mexican governments own safety statistics (yes, they do have databases) would be enough to prove the opposition to the program is a moot point.

And keeping in mind, after a successful year of the program, and I measure success by the no accident or incident statistics, it is going to be extremely difficult to justify pulling the plug on the program.

The big myth in all of this is that the Mexican carriers can operate cheaper and therefore undercut US rates which is not the case. Sure, they pay their drivers a little less than US carriers, but they also pay those drivers a per diem, cover their Social Security payments and have other perks that go with the job.

And when you consider the additional expenses required to enter into the program, obtain US operating authority, the high cost of US insurance, their costs of operations are equal to or slightly more than ours.

It’s all good business and those that would ignore that fact are the foolish ones. But we all know that OOIDA and others will continue to throw around false information and we will be here to debunk the myths with facts backed up by photos. That has been the success of Mexico Trucker.

Not to think I am totally down on OOIDA. They have apparently done some good fighting the new CARB restrictions in California. Their support of the TRUCC acts moving through Congress at the moment is a good thing for all the good they will do any of us. It is a panacea to a problem with roots deeper than these bills address. But on the issue of Mexican trucks, they are dead wrong and continually prove this by throwing out all the exaggerated misinformation.

We’ll all sit back and wait, but in my mind, we have much more important things to worry about at the moment.