February 18, 2024

Borderlands: Cross-border logistics firms expand operations into Mexico


Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Cross-border logistics firms expand operations into Mexico; Texas State Highway 130 toll road truck traffic up over 9%; Karat packaging opens new distribution facility in Arizona; and Pirelli opens Mexico training center, hits 50M-tire milestone.

Cross-border logistics firms expand operations into Mexico

Doubling down on nearshoring trends south of the border, Arrive Logistics and BlueGrace Logistics recently announced the opening of their first offices in Mexico.

Arrive’s new location in the Mexican city of Guadalajara is an 18,000-square-feet facility that will house both business development and carrier-focused teams specializing in cross-border solutions. The office will also include members of Arrive’s global services team and technology organization.

Guadalajara is in central western Mexico, about 330 miles from Mexico City.

Officials with Arrive Logistics said increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico has raised demand for localized resources to service the growing number of companies establishing manufacturing and transportation operations in the country.

Mexico was the top overall U.S. trading partner for 2023, with commerce between the two countries totaling $798 billion.

Jess Billedo, Arrive Logistics’ general manager of Mexico, will lead the Guadalajara office. 

“We look forward to strengthening relationships with local partners and providing a seamless connection to our entire North American operation at Arrive,” Billedo said in a news release

Austin, Texas-based Arrive Logistics provides freight brokerage, multimodal transportation and technology services, with 1,700 employees, 6,000 customers and 70,000 carriers in its network.

The Guadalajara office is Arrive Logistics’ second international location. The company opened an office in Toronto last year. Arrive has eight total locations across North America.

Florida-based BlueGrace Logistics also recently announced it has opened its first Mexico logistics center, which will also be located in Guadalajara.

BlueGrace’s Mexico logistics center will support cross-border freight services for full truckload, less-than-truckload, refrigerated, flatbed and intermodal, as well as managed logistics outsourcing.

Officials for BlueGrace said the Guadalajara location is aimed at the growing demands of shippers who continue to adopt nearshoring strategies.

“We’re excited to help our customers with their cross-border logistics needs and have begun facilitating the movement of freight in-and-out of the region,” Bobby Harris, BlueGrace Logistics founder and CEO, said in a news release. “Our bilingual team understands the local Mexico transportation authorities and regulations to help customers thrive in moving cross-border shipments.”

BlueGrace serves over 10,000 customers annually through its platform that provides connectivity with more than 250,000 carriers. BlueGrace is part of the technology portfolio of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm.

Texas State Highway 130 toll road truck traffic up over 9%

Truck traffic on the Texas State Highway 130 toll road increased 9.5% year over year (y/y) to 3.5 million transactions last year, compared to 2022, according to the company that operates the public-private thoroughfare in the Lone Star State.

Overall, SH 130 Concession Co. recorded 12.6 million vehicle transactions last year, a 10% y/y increase.

“Strong population growth throughout the central Texas region combined with an uptick in commercial and residential development directly along the SH 130 Corridor continues to lead more drivers to choose our roadway,” Adam Hesketh, CEO of SH 130 Concession Co., said in a news release.

State Highway 130 runs 91 miles through central Texas. Buda, Texas-based SH 130 Concession operates a private toll road that runs along a 41-mile stretch of the highway from just southeast of Austin south to Seguin, a town about 30 miles east of San Antonio.

The current rate for a typical tractor-trailer on the SH 130 Corridor with an electronic toll tag is $37.87.

SH 130 Concession Co. recently partnered with Caldwell County on a Department of Transportation grant application to build a travel plaza and truck parking facility along the roadway. The grant will provide $23 million to develop the project.

“As the growth in central Texas continues to accelerate, the company is committed to supporting the communities it serves through enhanced partnerships with economic developers, local stakeholders and regional organizations,” Hesketh said.

Karat packaging opens new distribution facility in Arizona

Karat Packaging Inc. recently announced it has signed a lease agreement for a 44,000-square-foot distribution center in Mesa, Arizona.

Karat (Nasdaq: KRT) is a specialty distributor and manufacturer of disposable foodservice products and related items. The facility is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2024.

Karat also announced an expansion of its national sales force, with the addition of five sales representatives to further penetrate key U.S markets in the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

“Our new distribution center will enable us to more efficiently serve customers in Arizona and New Mexico and enhance distribution productivity, as we continue to penetrate into this region,” Alan Yu, Karat’s CEO, said in a news release.

Chino, California-based Karat Packaging was founded in 2000. The company has nine facilities across the country and employs more than 700 workers. 

Pirelli opens Mexico training center, hits 50M-tire milestone

Pirelli recently celebrated the production of 50 million tires at its Silao plant in Guanajuato, Mexico. The manufacturing facility serves both local and North American markets, specializing in tires for various passenger vehicles.

Since the Silao factory’s inauguration in 2012, Pirelli’s total investment in the plant amounts to more than $900 million. Annual production has grown from a capacity of 1.5 million to 8.5 million tires. The facility employs about 3,200 workers.

The event also marked the opening of Pirelli Mexico’s first training center, aimed at developing local talent. The 10,000-square-foot center will offer courses on safety, quality, productivity, technology and environmental care.

“The opening of the new training center will boost the competitiveness of our Mexican employees,” Enrico Verdino, CEO of Pirelli Mexico, said in a news release. 

Milan, Italy-based Pirelli has 18 production plants and employs 31,000 people worldwide. The company produces tires for cars, motorcycles and bicycles.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

Border bridges blocked as former rail workers seek back pay

329 layoffs hit freight-related firms in Texas

Goodyear Tire ordered to pay $4M in back pay to Mexican workers


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