Cross-Border Logistics Insurance Requirements

We here in California are no strangers to cross-border commercial traffic. Since the passage of NAFTA way back in 1994, trade with Mexico has increased by 506%, reaching well over $600 billion worth of goods being shuttled back and forth yearly. This astronomical number can be itemized by measuring the commercial vehicle traffic performing their daily crossings.

California in particular is a popular destination for cross-border freight – the Otay Mesa port of entry saw well over $50 billion in trade make its way through its gates in 2021 alone. As the second busiest commercial border crossing, an astounding 936,000 commercial trucks made the crossing last year, surpassed only by the Laredo, Texas crossing, which saw more than 2.5 million trucks.

This equates to an average of 2,564 daily crossings at Otay Mesa, with an average of 150 minutes of waiting in line for inspections and paperwork processing. While expansions to the California border crossing are currently underway to reduce this wait time to under 20 minutes, for the time being, getting stuck at the border is simply a fact of life.

To keep interruptions to a minimum, commercial fleets regularly operating cross-border should be aware of what items are needed to complete their orders successfully. This is especially true for Mexican fleets and owner-operators that are transporting goods northwards into the United States, as the northern neighbor is more rigid in enforcing compliance.

Commercial vehicles traveling into the U.S. will be subject to two levels of inspection – a primary and a secondary. Commercial shipments also require verification of documents by the Mexican exporter or its designated representatives and the transmission of commercial/cargo data to U.S. Customs through the ABI system.

Once the trucks have successfully made the crossing, they then need to wait at a designated location until a licensed U.S. carrier comes to the drop-off point. The U.S. truck then picks up the freight and completes the delivery, while the Mexican truck trundles back over the border.

This is a highly inefficient system, where companies essentially play hot potato with their cargo until it finally reaches its destination. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is creating a U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking pilot program, which designates trusted fleets and drivers who can then go on to make deliveries to the final destination rather than being required to transfer cargo to a separate entity.

These trusted parties need to meet a number of qualifications in order to comply with the administration’s rules. This includes abiding by the bureau’s safety rules and regulations, holding a valid U.S. or Mexican commercial driver’s license, complying with U.S. hours-of-service rules, and having some proficiency in English, all of which are enforced by 540 federal and state inspectors performing audits at random.

These trusted logistics companies will also be required to be insured by a U.S. licensed firm in order to drive within the United States. Mexican national owner-operators and fleet operators may need help finding a fleet insurance underwriter willing to work with them due to the unique complications of dealing with a foreign legal entity.

That’s where S.W.A.N. Insurance comes in. S.W.A.N. specializes in making sure that logistics companies, both foreign and domestic, are fully in compliance with all local and federal laws pertaining to insurance coverage.

While many logistics companies and truckers would leap at the chance to make complete deliveries in the United States rather than use the relay system as it exists today, many would balk at the extra expense of purchasing expensive insurance policies from U.S. firms. With S.W.A.N., you gain access to a huge network of underwriters that can provide you with the Mexican truck insurance policies you need at the lowest rates around.

There’s money to be made providing cross-border freight. Don’t let insurance requirements and costs get in your way – call S.W.A.N. Insurance today.

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