C.H. Robinson opens cross-border logistics facility in US trade hub of Laredo

September 14 2023 Print This Article

C.H. Robinson announced the opening of a new facility that speeds up trade across the Mexico border, at a time when a growing number of global shippers are nearshoring in order to diversify and fortify their supply chains. It’s one of the largest cross-docks in Laredo, the nation’s No. 1 inland port, where the logistics company has been facilitating global business for more than 30 years.

The Port of Laredo handled $268 billion in trade with Mexico last year, up 20% from 2021. It’s near several manufacturing centers in Mexico, including the robust automotive industry in Monterrey. By tonnage and value, auto parts are the No. 1 product traveling through the port. In February, Laredo surpassed more than 450 seaports, airports and other border crossings to become the busiest in the nation.

“Unlike competitors with much smaller footprints in Laredo and new competitors just now trying to get a toehold, C.H. Robinson manages more than 1 million trucking, intermodal, ocean and air shipments a year in this region and has been continually growing here in tandem with our customers’ growth,” said Mike Burkhart, C.H. Robinson’s Vice President for Mexico. “We meticulously designed our newest facility to give our global shippers the greater scale, speed and service they need as they move more of their interests to Mexico.”

For example, most cross-docks in Laredo are single-sided. C.H. Robinson’s newest facility is one of the few with dock doors on both sides, which greatly accelerates the transfer of freight from Mexico carriers to U.S. carriers.

“It typically takes three trucks to bring a shipment through Laredo. A Mexico carrier brings the trailer to the border, a Mexico transfer carrier takes it across, then the freight is unloaded and reloaded onto a U.S. carrier’s trailer,” Burkhart said. “Because our cross-dock is significantly larger than most, has more dock doors than most and has dock doors on both sides, we can immediately unload freight when it arrives. It also reduces the reloading time, because forklift drivers don’t have to crisscross the building. On a day when 350 loads are being picked up, if you reduce load time by an average of 10 minutes, that saves nearly 60 hours in one day.”

Whether a company is bringing in raw materials from overseas for manufacturing in Mexico, sending car parts over the border into the United States or both, the complexity of international shipping requires even more than the right facilities. It requires the right experience.

“You need people with specific expertise in the shipping processes, laws and Customs regulations in every country your freight touches,” said Sri Laxmana, C.H. Robinson’s Vice President for the Americas. “That’s especially critical if your business operates in a just-in-time environment. You can’t tolerate delays. But it’s important to any business that wants to keep their freight flowing and stay compliant. ”