151109-los_indios_bridgeHARLINGEN, RGV – The push by Cameron County and the cities of Harlingen and San Benito to provide cold storage facilities at the Los Indios Free Trade Bridge is gathering pace.

Harlingen Economic Development Corporation has announced it is now accepting sealed proposals on behalf of Cameron County, the City of Harlingen, and the City of San Benito, from qualified vendors for the management and operation of a refrigerated inspection facility located within the federal import lot at the bridge.

Lupita Gutierrez Garza
Lupita Gutierrez Garza

Lupita Gutierrez Garza, chair of HEDC said a refrigerated inspection facility will provide an adequately climate controlled environment for commodities being imported into the United States during inspection by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These facilities will help protect products from the elements during inspection.

“The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation staff worked closely with the General Services Agency (GSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and American Electric Power (AEP) to make sure all of the requirements from each organization were met,” Gutierrez Garza said.

Gutierrez Garza pointed out that Los Indios Free Trade Bridge is the terminus of State Highway 509, a designated overweight corridor and a direct route to Interstate 69E, the Harlingen Industrial Park and the Harlingen Aerotropolis, also, a short drive from the Port of Harlingen.

Manuel de la Rosa, city manager for San Benito, predicted the cold storage facility will be a game-changer for Los Indios.

“The cold storage facility at the Free Trade International Bridge will certainly be an economic engine for our area,” de la Rosa told the Rio Grande Guardian. “I have been working closely with my counterparts from Cameron County, the City of Harlingen, the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation on the memorandum of understanding that finalizes this progressive deal. I believe both sides of the international boundary will prosper with the addition of this facility at the bridge site. I am enthusiastic with this initial step in moving forward with a cold storage facility.”

Manuel De La Rosa
Manuel De La Rosa

In a news release, Raudel Garza, CEO of the Harlingen EDC, outlined the origins of the project. “The new Mazatlán Matamoros superhighway is making it more efficient for companies to ship their good through our area. After speaking with several cold storage companies, it was decided that in order to help the produce industry grow, a cold room for inspection purposes was sorely needed. When we took the idea to the owners of the bridge, they wholeheartedly agreed.”

Garza said the project, the first of its kind in Cameron County, is expected to generate additional traffic through the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios, the Port of Entry with the shortest wait times for commercial vehicles in south Texas.

Garza said proposals should be sent to HEDC Offices, 2424 Boxwood Street, Suite 125, Harlingen, TX 78550. Deadline to submit is at 3:00 pm on December 15, 2016 at which time all proposals received will be opened and publicly acknowledged. No electronically mailed proposals will be accepted. Proposals should be sealed and clearly labeled “cold storage RFP” and addressed to Mr. Raudel Garza, CEO.