September 24, 2023

Borderlands: Michigan-based 3PL aims to capitalize on Mexico trade through acquisition


Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: A Michigan-based 3PL aims to capitalize on Mexico trade through an acquisition; San Antonio mulls banning overnight truck parking; a Texas-based electric mini-truck maker begins production; and $9.9 million worth of marijuana is seized at the World Trade Bridge.

Michigan-based 3PL aims to capitalize on Mexico trade through acquisition

Supply Chain Solutions LLC (SCS) recently acquired Dallas-based G4 Logistics International, a move directed at boosting cross-border services as more firms leave China and nearshore manufacturing operations south of the border, according to SCS CEO Les Brand.

“China trade is slowing down and it significantly took a big portion of our revenues down because consumers are buying locally now,” Brand told FreightWaves.

The acquisition of G4 Logistics adds about 20 employees to SCS and offices in Mexico City and Dallas, as well as expands SCS’ offerings to cross-border shippers.

“The people at [G4 Logistics International], they’ve been friends of ours for a long time. Now we’re just getting the family a little closer,” Brand said. “When we saw China trade start to slow down a bit … we thought we needed to build up our cross-border relationship, not only with Mexico, but also in Canada.” 

Mexico was the top U.S. trade partner in July at $65.3 billion, marking the seventh time in the past eight months Mexico ranked No. 1 in monthly international commerce with the U.S.

Mexico’s trade with the U.S. year to date is $462 billion, ahead of Canada at $450.3 billion and China at $322.3 billion.

Nearshoring of manufacturing continues to boost cross-border trade between the U.S. and Mexico. The manufacturing sector in Mexico already attracted almost $10 billion in foreign direct investments in the first eight months of 2023, according to Statista, compared to $13.7 billion in all of 2022.

G4 Logistics, founded in 2016, is a full-service logistics company providing international freight forwarding, transportation management, freight brokerage and contract logistics services. G4 Logistics will transition and be folded into SCS.

The deal with G4 is the eighth acquisition for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SCS since Brand founded the company in 2001. Brand said the acquisition of G4 will add transactional brokerage services to SCS’ offerings. 

“What we do is help our clients improve the performance of their supply chain, offering technology, consulting, trade management, managed transportation and contracts,” Brand said. “What we didn’t have was a transactional brokerage — a short, quick, responsive service that a lot of our clients really want.”

G4 Logistics also has a lot of experience with cross-border automotive shipments and other related industries, according to Brand.

“They do durable manufacturing, foods,” Brand said. “By industry, we’re touching a lot of pharmaceuticals, we’re touching a lot of food, which we like right now. Both are high growth, things are stable. With automotive, we’ll see if wheels go down or wheels up.”

Brand said SCS is also looking at cross-border trade opportunities in Canada, Brazil and India. In addition to the acquisition of G4 Logistics, SCS is in the process of acquiring a Mexico City-based freight forwarding company.

“We’re preparing for India right now, we’re preparing a little more for Canadaand this Mexico relationship is going to be great for us. We do a lot of work with Brazil and that’s another big trading partner with Mexico,” Brand said. “What the Mexico City freight forwarder will help us do is support the European inbound automotive imports into Mexico, especially German consolidations down into the automotive hubs down there.”

San Antonio mulls banning overnight truck parking

The San Antonio City Council could soon consider an ordinance that would ban tractor-trailer parking along all nonresidential city streets between 2 and 6 a.m. 

“It can be a real public safety issue when you’ve got big 18-wheelers lined up on the side of a road, and cars have to swerve to miss them,” San Antonio Councilman Marc Whyte told the San Antonio Report.

City and county ordinances in San Antonio already restrict parking in residential areas between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and the city also prohibits parking trucks in a home’s front yard or on the curb of a residential property.

The proposed ban on overnight tractor-trailer parking was recently reviewed by the city’s public safety committee and could be taken up soon at a City Council meeting.

Texas-based electric mini-truck maker begins production

Electric mini-truck maker Ayro recently began low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the company’s first vehicle, known as the Vanish, a utility truck with a modular design intended for a wide range of urban uses, according to a news release.

Ayro is a designer and manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles. The company was founded in 2017 and is based in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 miles north of Austin.

Electric mini-truck maker Ayro recently began production of the Vanish in Texas. (Photo: Ayro)

LRIP is a limited manufacturing run that is intended to validate the efficiency of the production processes and systems designed to build the Vanish, the company said. Training, tools, processes and quality measures are evaluated as the company prepares to ramp up to higher production rates.

“We believe entering LRIP for the Vanish is a major milestone for Ayro,” CEO Tom Wittenschlaeger said in a statement. “Within a few weeks, we anticipate being able to deliver the first vehicles to our dealers and partners so they can begin showing and selling the Vanish beyond pre-orders.”

The Vanish is designed to serve as a sustainable alternative to gas-powered vehicles typically used in commercial fleets.

$9.9M worth of marijuana seized at World Trade Bridge

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized more than 2 tons of marijuana at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas.

The seizure occurred Sept. 14 when CBP officers were checking a tractor-trailer hauling a load of home goods from Mexico. Officers reportedly discovered 177 packages containing a total of 4,466 pounds of alleged marijuana within the trailer. The narcotics have a street value of $9.9 million.

CBP seized the narcotics and turned the case over to Homeland Security Investigations.

Border agents reportedly discovered 177 packages containing a total of 4,466 pounds of alleged marijuana hidden in a trailer-trailer. (Photo: CBP)

Watch: Waabi announces $10M deal with Uber Freight.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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