WESLACO, RGV – Weslaco is becoming as important a national shipping point for cotton as Houston and Dallas, says Rio Grande Valley businessman Joaquin Spamer.
Spamer is owner of CIL Logistics. In conjunction with Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, Spamer held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 282,500 square feet of warehouse space at the Mid Valley Industrial Park in Weslaco.
“Weslaco has already become a distribution center to all the destinations where the American cotton goes. Thank you for continuing to support us,” Spamer said.
CIL, which stands for Commodities Integrated Logistics, is a leader in the shipping of U.S. cotton into Mexico, handling over 60 percent of all crossings.
The new buildings will increase CIL’s footprint to well beyond its existing 1,100,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in the Valley, said Weslaco EDC in a news release. Of this, 390,000 sq. ft. is in Weslaco.
Just last season CIL reportedly moved over 300 containers, with expectations to reach 5,000 containers of cotton within the next five years, the EDC explained.
The need for additional warehouse space is attributed to the increase in volume of exports to Asia. In 2017, CIL opened a new shipping route for South Texas cotton to reach the Asian markets through Mexico.
“As you could see when they came to this place, we have cotton stored outside and it is part of what we are trying to cover. That market demand that requires us to continue growing,” said Spamer.
Spamer said two new warehouses will be constructed across the street from each other at 1820 E. Sugar Cane Drive. One facility will be approximately 82,500 square feet and the other will be 200,000 square feet, each fulfilling the same purpose.
Weslaco EDC said the timeline for construction is approximately five months for both buildings. “Cotton farmers and area gins will benefit greatly from the new warehouse space since the facilities serve as both a gin-to-warehouse receiving facility as well as a shipping point,” the EDC stated.
The cost of both buildings is expected to reach $8 million and create ten new jobs in Weslaco.
The mayor of Weslaco, David Suarez said that the city and the EDC make use of incentives to attract investors.
“Through the EDC we give incentives to investors like Mr. Spamer. We want them to invest in Weslaco and stay here. We help them with land, sometimes with 10 percent of the investment, but they have to build here and create jobs. If the employees stay here, Weslaco grows and Weslaco wins,” said Suarez.
One of the advantages, officials said, is the city is working in conjunction with the EDC. “Most of all, the city is onboard with us doing business. They approve the deals very quickly and they can ensure business gets done,” said Weslaco EDC Executive Director Marie McDermott.
Besides cotton, the EDC is looking more investors involved in the cold storage business from Mexico. “And we can develop more cold storages here and export all the way from Texas to east coast,“ McDermott said.
McDermott said in order to help attract investors to the industrial zone, her group is a member of the Rio South Texas Economic Council and Texas International Produce Association.
Suarez said that one of the advantages Weslaco has is its close proximity to the Progresso International Bridge and the Mid-Valley Airport.
“Therefore, logistically, it is more convenient because we are in the middle of the Valley, and here is a lot of transportation for Mexico and to Mexico,” said the Weslaco mayor.
Suarez said Weslaco airport is used by the Border Patrol and CBP agents can come and inspect if they are called in advance.
“We have a custom entry here. You just have to call to customs two hours before and you can get here and they can be clear here,“ added Suarez.
Editor’s Note: CIL has another big event coming up. Here are the details: