Our local politicians and city manager, I imagine with the approval of the city council, invested over $2.5 million in a structure to house a branch of the Mexican Customs.
This branch was intended to process cargo to Mexican cities where there are no Mexican Customs offices.
The project was supposed to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from the sale of jet fuel, landing fees and freight handling to load and unload aircraft.
They are now bragging about the facility where the Mexican government allows only a few firms (not the general public) who ship parts or components that will become part of a product, which will then be subsequently exported, to get a permit from the Mexican government to have their goods inspected.
These goods come directly from the Laredo Airport and are bound to one of six Custom houses in Mexico.
Since the products allowed are not produced in Laredo, they would have to come from somewhere else.
It is my opinion that we are trying to sell a service that nobody will buy. It is very expensive and time consuming.
If the cargo comes by the air, the owner would have to pay for two takeoffs and landings, since most of the fuel is consumed in takeoff and landing, plus demurrage charges while the cargo is inspected, plus handling charges.
Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for the shipper to fly the cargo directly from origin to destination for half of the cost?
If the cargo comes via truck, it would be handled the way it is handled now.
It would go to a custom broker’s warehouse where he does not pay handling, clear customs at the bridge and flown out of the Laredo Airport or shipped via truck, since all the airports (except Chihuahua) are very close.
I believe our politicians have wasted millions of our tax dollars for their failure “to do the math.”
They tried to build a rail bridge to charge $50 per car when one of the railroads was paying nothing because they owned their own bridge and the other was paying $10 per car.
The traffic from Central America never came because it would have cost shippers two or three times more than what they were paying via their traditional routes.
Now they are spending $120K to sponsor a gathering of logisticians that will not bring anything good for the city except maybe occupy a few hotel rooms and a gathering that is being promoted by the same party that organized the Central American junkets.
Few in the business community know about it.