PHARR, Texas – Ken Roberts of WorldCity will be special guest at this week’s Pharr Trade Trends 2021 Update event. 

The leadership of the Pharr International Bridge host the update shows every quarter to highlight the volume and value of imports and exports crossing their bridge. They are pleased to say the numbers continue to rise.

Roberts, who is based in Miami, Florida, produces an annual book for the Pharr International Bridge board of directors that is packed full of data on the movement of goods that cross the bridge. The most recent Pharr TradeNumbers publication shows Pharr’s trade with the world is now valued at $36.68 billion. Of more than 450 U.S. airports, seaports and border land crossings, Pharr is in the Top 30 for trade.

The Pharr Trade Trends event takes place Thursday, Sept. 9 from 2-3 p.m., live via Pharr International Bridge’s Facebook page.

“When we started working with Ken Roberts of WorldCity out of Miami, a few years back, we stated doing this very comprehensive study,” said Pharr Bridge Director Luis Bazán. 

Luis A. Bazán

“The study allows us to hone in on where we stand as a land port of entry and how we compare, how we rank amongst other land ports of entry, and airports and seaports. That is how we are able to really find out our real numbers, the value of the product crossing from Mexico to the United States and the United States to Mexico and from all parts of the world.”

Bazán was proud to say products from more than 90 countries now cross the Pharr bridge. By a massive margin, Mexico is No. 1.

“Working with Ken Roberts we decided last year that in addition to the publication, we were going to host four special events, talking about the trade numbers and how things are progressing,” Bazán said.

“This is important because the numbers change every week. The value of products, the way the products are ranked, on tables such as the top 25 imports, the top 25 exports, for example, they can change.”

Bazán said working with WorldCity has been a smart move for Pharr.

“Ken is expert at data. He is the expert at numbers. In fact, he is the one that compiles all this data from the U.S. Census, information that is utilized and shared by customs brokers, that allows us to really know what types of products we are crossing through the Pharr International Bridge.”

Bazán said the trade trends numbers help inform the Pharr International Bridge board of directors and the City of Pharr when it comes to investment decisions.

“We are investing big for faster trade, we are investing big dollars for more infrastructure, needed infrastructure, in order to service this trade and these products,” Bazán said.

Ken Roberts

In the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service’s interview with Bazán agreement was reached not to tell the full story in advance. That lots of key bits of information would only be revealed at the Pharr Trade Trends show. That said, Bazán, was pleased to announce that his bridge had its best ever year during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The movement of fresh produce has gone through the roof. We saw over 18,000, 19,000 shipments a month of fresh produce,” Bazán said. 

The growth in shipments of fresh produce has been so great that it is no longer seasonal, Bazán explained.

“Every October, we have our Fresh Produce Season kickoff. But there really is no kickoff. You kick it off and it just continues, all year round,” Bazán said.

“At the end of the year, December 2020 we were at over 20 percent growth combined, both imports and exports. That kind of tells you where we stand. Commerce did not suffer during the pandemic.”

This year’s Fresh Produce Season kickoff event takes place Oct. 7.

“We invite all the community to come out. We invite all the cities to come out. All of our importers. If you look at Pharr right now we have a 100-acre tract called the Pharr Produce District. The Pharr Produce District is booming with cold storage warehouses. That is a testament to the fact that 65 percent of the nation’s produce crosses through Texas land ports of entry. On a monthly basis, about 35 percent of the nation’s produce crosses through our bridge. We are the No. 1 for avocado, and we continue to be in the No. 2 position for berries.”

While volumes continue to rise, there was, naturally enough, a dip in values.

“That occurred was across the board. The overall value of the shipments suffered by about nine or ten percent, largely because the automotive industry is such a high value commodity. That took a hit during the pandemic but overall the Pharr Bridge did well.”

Bazán added: “We are going on 27 years of service to the trade community in November of this year. We are very excited about what the future holds because we are planning for the future. We have a vision, we have the infrastructure, we have the funding in place to put this infrastructure in place to better service our trade community.”

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