In February 2018, we discussed solutions that can help shippers navigate the freight capacity crunch currently felt throughout the U.S. Current challenges with capacity, however, are not limited to freight moving domestically. Cross-border freight capacity between the U.S. and Mexico, for example, has become increasingly difficult to secure in recent years.
The primary challenge with cross-border capacity occurs on northbound moves from Mexico to the U.S. An imbalance of available equipment in contrast to the north-south freight flow has resulted in a lack of trailers that can move door-to-door without delay. To illustrate the imbalance, there is a need for approximately three or more northbound trailers for each southbound trailer.
While there is no immediate fix to the equipment imbalance, transloading freight at facilities along the border can help shippers keep their freight moving without delay. Transloading is the movement of freight from one trailer to another. This strategy allows shippers to utilize more readily available Mexican trailers south of the border for delivery to facilities north of the border where more U.S. equipment is available.
(1) Identify Secure Facilities & Service Providers
If you think transloading could be a viable solution for your import needs from Mexico, take time to research your service provider options. Find out where the service provider has facilities located at that are capable of handling transload moves.
#ShipperProTip: Transloading will be most effective at facilities that are located in close proximity to major border crossing points, such as Laredo, El Paso and Harlingen. The further away from the border that transloading occurs can result in higher transportation costs and delays to service.
Additionally, you will want to ensure that your freight is handled securely and professionally. When talking with potential service providers, ask them if they can provide the following:
- Secure facilities and docks
- Equipment and hands to transload freight
- Bilingual staff
- 24/7 customer service
Finally, you will want to ensure that the service provider owns or has access to U.S. trailers and drivers for final delivery or distribution of your imported freight. If you already have a select carrier that you intend to use on the U.S. side, some service providers will still be able to perform the transloading service at their facility without requiring you to use their drivers and trailers for final delivery.
(2) Load Freight For Seamless Shipping
In general, it's important that freight is properly loaded and packaged for transportation. When it comes to transloading, cross-border freight needs to be palletized so that dockworkers can quickly transfer the shipment between trailers.
#ShipperProTip: Proper packaging and crating can help you reduce damages to your freight. Watch this video about the rigors of freight in transit to learn more about how proper packaging can help you cut damages and losses!
Most transload services can't be easily performed on freight that is not palletized. Additionally, you will want to ensure that your origin shipper properly labels freight and utilizes adequate packaging practices.
(3) More Benefits Of Cross-Border Facilities
Aside from transloading, many cross-border facilities can be used to perform a variety of logistics services that can help you streamline your supply chain.
Warehousing: If your freight needs to be held before a consignee can accept it, many cross-border facilities offer temporary warehousing space.
Inventory Processing: In most cases, imported freight has not been processed for final delivery. Your service provider may be able to help you prepare your imported goods with value-added services, including quality checks, barcoding and labeling, and light assembly. This can help reduce the amount of time and resources that would otherwise be needed at your freight's delivery point.
Deconsolidation & Distribution: Cross-border facilities are an excellent resource to prepare freight for LTL distribution. The right service provider will be able to deconsolidate your imported freight from one truckload for LTL pickup and delivery.
There are many benefits to incorporating freight transloading services into a Mexico-based supply chain. In terms of transit, it can save shippers several days that would otherwise have been lost while waiting for available equipment. As for costs, transloading your freight is by far one of the best ways to bypass the expenses of northbound trailers that are so difficult to come by. Finally, utilizing transloading and other cross-border services will help you ensure that your supply chain doesn't encounter costly delays.
Need Assistance? Contact Averitt's Mexico Team: 1-866-208-0167