March 3, 2024

Borderlands Mexico: Texas-based customs broker expands cross-border footprint


Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Texas-based customs broker expands cross-border footprint; Pennsylvania-based mushroom grower expands production into Mexico; Impilo expands distribution network with Phoenix warehouse; and TT Electronics opens factory along US-Mexico border.

In 1991, Eduardo Lozano started his cross-border freight forwarding business with a $2,000 loan from his parents because he saw opportunities in trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

“I started basically from scratch, not really knowing how it would end up,” Lozano said.

Today, Lozano is CEO and president of the firm he founded, Eduardo E. Lozano & Co. Inc. (EELCO), which has over 33 years of U.S.-Mexico border customs experience. The Laredo, Texas-based company has offices in Texas, Foreign Trade Zone warehouse in Miami Florida and offices in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. EELCO handled over 114,000 customs transactions for clients in 2023.

“Our core service is white glove U.S. Customs clearances and providing value-added counsel and advice on customs compliance,” Lozano said. ”We provide a wide variety of logistic support services including customs clearance, cross docking, freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution, and Foreign Trade Zone services.”

Lozano, who was born and raised in Laredo, said growing up near the border gave him a unique insight into the trade community between the two countries.

“I know a few things about the border that most people don’t know that want to come to Laredo to explore, it’s never the same unless you are born and raised and live through many changes from NAFTA to today’s USMCA at the southern border,” Lozano said.

EELCO is expanding with a new 250,000-square-foot logistics warehouse in North Laredo. The facility, which opened on Friday, features 47 dock doors, four ramp doors, 247 trailer spaces and over 40,000-square-feet designated for foreign trade zone warehousing.

Eduardo E. Lozano & Co. Inc.’s new warehouse is located in North Laredo, Texas, adjacent to Interstate 35. (Photo: EELCO)

Mexico was the top overall U.S. trading partner in 2023, with trade between the two countries totaling $798 billion and Laredo is crossing more than 18,000 trucks daily into and out of the United States.

Last year, the port of entry in Laredo was the No. 1-ranked international trade gateway in the U.S., totaling $320 billion. It was the first time Laredo was the nation’s No. 1 overall trade port for the year. In January, Laredo started the year as the No. 1 port in the country in cargo volume, followed by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

“The primary reason behind our expansion was due to the high demand we have from customers in cross docking and storage,” Lozano said. “Importers are finding it more cost effective to load a Mexican dry van in Monterrey, Mexico, dray it to the border to clear customs in Laredo, and take it to our facility where a U.S. truck is waiting to cross dock and pick up the load, taking it to its final destination.”

EELCO’s new warehouse facility is a consolidation of the company’s two existing warehouses in Laredo. The new warehouse is located in North Laredo, adjacent to Interstate-35 and is compliant with customs-trade partnership against terrorism (CTPAT) regulations.

“The Laredo real estate market for warehousing is growing and finding a facility was not difficult with the addition of several new industrial parks developing around the city,” Lozano said. “Laredo has seen a large growth in the past 3 years, where 250,000-square-foot warehouses are becoming very common. It’s not difficult to find real estate in Laredo, but buyers are having to pay premium prices compared to past years.”

Lozano predicts big things for the U.S.-Mexico trade market this year.

“We are blessed to say EELCO, as well as our colleagues in Port Laredo, are reporting record volumes for customs and logistics operations,” Lozano said. “Forecasts predict that this upward trend is expected to continue in years to come and this is only the beginning.”

Pennsylvania-based mushroom grower expands production into Mexico

Mushroom grower South Mill Champs has entered into a partnership with Mexican private investment company Grupo APAL.

The partnership, which will be a 50-50 Mexican joint venture called Royal Champs, will build a mushroom growing farm and packing operation on a 257-acre site near Queretaro, Mexico.

In addition to the facility in Queretaro, the partnership aims to eventually expand growing operations in multiple sites across Mexico primarily for import into the U.S. and Canada, according to a news release.

“The partnership with Grupo APAL will allow us to focus on our expansive expertise of mushroom production and supply chain management,” Mike Pia Jr., South Mill Champs’ vice president of business growth, said in a statement. “The Mexican expansion demonstrates our commitment to modernizing and leading innovation in the mushroom industry across North America.”

South Mill Champs is a Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based grower and supplier of North American fresh mushrooms and functional mushroom foods. The company has growing and processing operations in Canada and the U.S. The company’s network includes cold chain distribution centers in nine U.S. cities

Grupo APAL is the private investment company of Paredes Arroyo, a dairy producer, supplier and shareholder of Alpura, a dairy products company based in Mexico City.

Impilo expands distribution network with Phoenix warehouse

Technology firm Impilo recently opened a distribution center in Phoenix aimed at bolstering the company’s ability to cater to the growing demand for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services in the western parts of the U.S.

The temperature-controlled distribution center includes storage, kitting, refurbishment and receiving capabilities. The facility is located near the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport airport and several major carriers’ facilities, according to a news release.

“This expansion marks a significant milestone for Impilo as we strive to enhance logistics efficiency, reduce shipping costs and expedite shipping times for our customers,” Josh Stein, CEO and founder, said in a statement.

Founded in 2020, Impilo is based in Philadelphia. The company provides logistic and data solutions for healthcare companies and providers to scale their remote patient monitoring programs.

TT Electronics opens factory along US-Mexico border

TT Electronics, a provider of global manufacturing solutions and engineered technologies, recently opened a new manufacturing facility in Mexicali, Mexico. 

The 75,000-square-foot facility allows the company to meet the increasing demand for electronics manufacturing solutions in North America, according to a news release.

“This strategic investment reinforces our commitment to deliver increased value, a world-class service and the capacity to enable our customer’s growth,” Michael Leahan, COO of TT Electronics, said in a statement. 

Mexicali is the state capital of Baja California and is located along the California-Mexico border. 

The new factory is situated next to the company’s existing plant in Mexicali, which manufactures sensor technologies. The new facility will provide fully integrated electronics manufacturing solutions with capacity for up to six high-speed surface-mount technology lines, product integration and assembly.

TT Electronics is based near London, England, and employs more than 1,200 workers in Mexicali and Juarez, Mexico. 

More articles by Noi Mahoney

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Mass furloughs reported at BNSF Railway operations in 4 states

Texas, Louisiana ports’ January cargo volumes a mixed bag


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