Kansas City Southern (KCS) (NYSE: KSU) president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer joined officials representing the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican Customs (SAT) in the dedication of a new, joint Unified Cargo Processing facility at the Laredo, Texas railroad border-crossing, the company said.
The objective of this new facility is to share Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) security scanning images; conduct Mexico export processing at the US railhead; streamline the documentation review of northbound trains; and conduct joint inspections, when needed, on inbound shipments.
During the week that US, Mexican and Canadian trade representatives begin opening negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US and Mexican customs officials are dedicating this new facility to improving the fluidity and security of this vital, cross-border rail corridor.
The Laredo/Nuevo Laredo rail crossing is the busiest on the US-Mexico border, processing on average 23 trains in both directions per 24-hour period, and carrying a wide variety of products such as automobiles and parts, steel, grain and petroleum products. It is vital to the economic security of both countries.
CBP, Mexico Customs, KCS and Union Pacific are committed to continually improving this border-crossing for security, safety and efficiency through government and private sector collaboration. Eliminating stopping trains on the bridge would increase velocity and fluidity of train movements over the border, which is important for all stakeholders. Keeping trains moving increases security and throughput, while reducing traffic congestion within the city limits of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.
Demand for rail shipments across this busiest international rail gateway in both directions will continue to increase in the future, particularly with growth in US agricultural and future energy exports to Mexico. New and innovative ways to keep this trade moving securely and efficiently over the border will be needed in the future to expand trade between the US and Mexico and make North America even more competitive.
US Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas, CBP deputy executive assistant John Wagner, Mexican SAT assistant commissioner Gerardo Suarez Hasbach, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, and Nuevo Laredo bilateral affairs coordinator Edgar Parra and sixth councilman of the municipal council Gerardo PeÃ±a joined Ottensmeyer at the dedication.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., KCS is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the US, Mexico and Panama. Its primary US holding is The Kansas City Southern Railway company, serving the central and south central US Its international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of LÃ¡zaro CÃ¡rdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway company, providing ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal. KCS´ North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a railway network linking the commercial and industrial centers of the US, Mexico and Canada.