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Rolling Down to Monterrey

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Bordering the Future

Monday (Day 1)

8 a.m.--Intelicomp, a manufacturer in Chicago, ships a load of computer parts to an importer in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The Chicago plant contracts with Truckit, a U.S. long-haul motor carrier, which takes responsibility for delivery to the buyer in Monterrey by providing a freight through bill showing custody and responsibility of the cargo. Truckit driver Bill Hobbs trundles out of Chicago toward the Laredo port of entry, the most direct route into Mexico.

Tuesday (Day 2)

10 a.m.--Hobbs arrives in Laredo two hours behind schedule due to traffic congestion in Central Texas, mainly around Austin and San Antonio. He drops off the cargo at a terminal in Laredo. Hobbs drives to a Laredo motel to rest and wait for a northbound load for his return trip to Chicago.

11 a.m.--The company terminal calls a freight forwarder, who has been waiting for the computer parts, and advises that the cargo is ready for pick up. The forwarder calls Manuel Silva at DrayCo, a U.S. drayage short-haul trucking company, and orders a pick up of the trailer to deliver it to his warehouse for preparation of the paperwork for crossing into Mexico. The forwarder verifies the load and submits documents electronically to a Mexican customs broker, who will complete and approve the documents.

Wednesday (Day 3)

2:30 p.m.--The forwarder finalizes the paperwork with the cargo load, and DrayCo has permission to bring the computer parts into Mexico.

3 p.m.--Fresh coffee in hand and his favorite music playing, Silva is prepared for a three-hour haul into Mexico, his second trip of the day. Silva knows all too well that it is rush hour. He wishes the U.S. Customs officers were open for business around the clock.

6:30 p.m.--Silva reaches the U.S. Customs area at the bridge in Laredo to show officials the manifest pre-approved by the Mexican customs broker. He is flagged through.

7 p.m.--In Mexico, Silva drives to a designated trailer area called a corralón, a holding lot that Mexican border cities use because they have little or no warehousing. He unhooks the trailer, and the Mexican customs broker matches the paperwork to Intelicomp's cargo.

8 p.m.--Silva bobtails (drives without a trailer) back to the border to play the waiting game to cross back into the U.S.

9 p.m.--Intelicomp's Mexican carrier prepares the shipment of the computer cargo for the trip into Mexico's interior.

Thursday (Day 4)

9:00 a.m.--The Monterrey importer receives its computer parts shipment.

Note: This composite is based on interviews with several truck drivers.