Monday, August 21, 2017

KCS builds on the promise of NAFTA

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KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer (fourth from left) joined U.S. CBP and Mexican SAT officials for the dedication of Joint Unified Cargo Processing Facility at the Laredo, Tex., rail border crossing. KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer (fourth from left) joined U.S. CBP and Mexican SAT officials for the dedication of Joint Unified Cargo Processing Facility at the Laredo, Tex., rail border crossing. Kansas City Southern

More than 20 years after Kansas City Southern helped lay the foundation for seamless U.S.-Mexico rail freight movements when it won the concession to operate Mexico’s principal rail corridor, KCS helped dedicate a new, joint Unified Cargo Processing facility at the Laredo, Tex., railroad border crossing.

KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer on Aug. 18 joined officials representing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican Customs (SAT) to dedicate this new facility, which handles Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) security scanning images; conducts Mexico export processing at the U.S. railhead; streamlines documentation review of northbound trains; and facilitates joint inspections, when needed, on inbound shipments.

U.S. and Mexican customs officials dedicated this new facility, which is expected to improve the fluidity and security of this “vital, cross-border rail corridor,” the same week that U.S., Mexican and Canadian trade representatives begin opening negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“As our governments begin the important work of updating NAFTA this week, we must all remember the importance of the NAFTA trade relationship to both countries and both economies,” said Ottensmeyer. “This project, and others to follow, are essential to facilitate the goal of expanding trade and particularly increasing exports of goods such as refined petroleum products and petro-chemicals from the U.S. to Mexico.”

The Laredo/Nuevo Laredo rail crossing is the busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border, processing on average 23 trains in both directions per 24-hour period, and carrying a wide variety of products such automobiles and parts, steel, grain and petroleum products.

The crossing “is vital to the economic security of both countries,” KCS noted. “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.”

“This project is a model for how communities, governmental authorities and private enterprises can work together to create outcomes that benefit everyone and strengthen our relationships with our key trading partners and neighbors,” said Ottensmeyer. “Demand for rail shipments across this busiest international rail gateway in both directions will continue to increase in the future, particularly with growth in U.S. 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 U.S. and Mexico and make North America even more competitive.”

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), CBP Deputy Executive Assistant John Wagner, Mexican SAT Assistant Commissioner Gerardo Suarez Hasbach, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, Nuevo Laredo Bilateral Affairs Coordinator Edgar Parra and Sixth Councilman of the Municipal Council Gerardo Peña joined Ottensmeyer at the dedication.