Valley’s Jason Mansur Addresses Rail Border Crossing Closures

Published On: December 20, 2023-

Valley Companies’ Vice President of Enterprise Partnerships, Jason Mansur, discusses how the shutdown of the border rail crossings at Eagle Pass, Texas and El Paso, Texas will have a significant impact on the movement of goods with Supply Chain Dive. The possibility is very real that large amounts of freight will be delayed, but there are steps that can be taken to lessen the blow according to Mansur.


Shippers Consider Alternatives After Rail Border Closures

Published Dec. 20, 2023 | Supply Chain Dive | By Larry Avila | Trucking Editor
{Editor’s note: The rail border crossings were officially reopened Dec. 22. See an update here.}

Bridge closures at Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, are leading to longer wait times. Brokers shared some of their tips for mitigating disruption.

When U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on Dec. 17 it was closing two vital railroad bridge crossings in Texas the following day, shippers and freight brokerages immediately recognized fast action was necessary to minimize delivery disruptions.

Problems at major trade border crossings are familiar to C.H. Robinson. Shortly after customs officials announced the closure, VP for Mexico Mike Burkhart knew the brokerage giant’s customers would be inquiring about alternatives by 8 a.m. Monday.

“If you’re any kind of manufacturer that produces a high volume of goods daily, you need to keep your lines running and your product flowing even when these all-too-common disruptions happen at the border,” Burkhart said in an email to Supply Chain Dive. But C.H. Robinson was prepared and had contingency plans in place.

The brokerage assisted some of its automotive customers with larger bulky shipments by diverting freight to alternative crossings, Burkhart said. Other options also included moving loads onto trucks or planes.

Alternatives for shippers

There are things to consider when transferring a load from mode of transportation to another.

A C.H. Robinson customer has dozens of freight-filled railcars crossing the border daily, Burkhart said. Shifting a load from one railcar translates to three truckloads.

Time is another factor when weighing options to redirect freight movement, said Jason Mansur, vice president of enterprise partnerships at Valley Companies, a Hudson, Wisconsin-based third-party logistics provider.

The shutdown of the border rail crossings at Eagle Pass, Texas and El Paso, Texas will have a significant impact on movement of goods, Mansur said in an email to Supply Chain Dive, noting every minute of delay can add a significant amount of costs to shippers, carriers and the broader economy.

Shippers dependent on open transit at the border should have plans in place to address closures, Mansur said.

Depending on the commodity, an option may be to create an emergency safety stock or sourcing alternative. This may include placing orders with existing suppliers to move via different modes such as over-the-road truckload or air, which provides greater flexibility for routing at the time of an order being placed.

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