PHARR, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott’s installation of secondary inspections for trucks crossing into Texas from Mexico for one week during April caused a loss in revenue for the Pharr International Bridge. 

Edgar Delgadillo

Revenue for April showed a decrease of $101,993, or -7.60 percent over the same month in 2021. Pharr collects tolls on southbound crossings. Southbound truck movements in April were down 8.66 percent. Northbound truck movements in April were down 25.76 percent.

April has been the only month of the year so far in which the Pharr International Bridge has seen a dip in revenues. 

“I look at the drop in truck crossings in April as just a dip, nothing more,” said Edgar Delgadillo, chairman of the Pharr International Bridge. “Every market, every industry, has its dips. You just have to put it behind you and keep on working.”

Fred Brouwen, director of operations for the Pharr International Bridge, gave an update on the bridge crossings for April, 2022, at a recent board of directors meeting. He reported:

* Crossings for the Pharr International Bridge totaled 89,679 vehicles for the month of April, 2022, which showed a decrease of 9,461 vehicles, or -9.54 percent over the same month in 2021.

* Car crossings for the Pharr International Bridge totaled 36,340 cars for the month of April, 2022, showing a decrease of 4,402 cars, or -10.80 percent over the same month in 2021.

* Southbound truck crossings totaled 53,339 for the month of April 2022, showing a decrease of 5,059 trucks or -8.66 percent over the same month in 2021.

* Northbound truck crossings totaled 44,692 trucks for the month of April 2022, showing a decrease of 15,505 trucks or -25.76 percent over the same month in 2021.

* Adding northbound and southbound truck crossings together, the Pharr International Bridge saw 88,305 crossings in April, 2022. This compares to 118,595 in the same month in 2021. This equates to a loss of 30,290 trucks comparing April 2022 to April 2021, or -34.30 percent.

* Revenues for the Pharr International Bridge totaled $1,240,476 dollars for the month of April 2022. This was made up from: Autos and other: $145,360; Trucks: $1,091,007; Profit on pesos: $4,109. Total: 1,240,476. Revenues showed a decrease of $101,993, or -7.60 percent over the same month in 2021.

Trucking companies and customs brokers derided Gov. Abbott for imposing secondary inspections for one week during April. Northbound crossings ground to a halt because the inspections caused long delays. 

Fred Brouwen

The Pharr International Bridge became ground zero for media coverage because it carries the most fresh produce, which has a short shelf life. At one point during the week in question, Mexican truckers blockaded the Pharr bridge in protest at Gov. Abbott’s action. The Governor’s Office has not reported any smuggling of people or drugs on the trucks inspected by the Department of Public Safety.

Some industry experts have predicted that that one week of chaos will have a longterm negative impact for the Pharr bridge; that its reputation will suffer. There has been speculation that Nogales, Arizona, will be the beneficiary because its bridge carries a lot of fresh produce also. 

Interviewed after the board meeting, Delgadillo, chairman of the Pharr Bridge Board, was asked if he saw any lasting harm for his bridge resulting from the secondary inspections fiasco. He said he did not think so.

“Obviously there was a dip in trade and it did hurt us for a short amount of time. But, it forced us to come together on a lot of different areas we were working on,” Delgadillo said. 

If anything, Delgadillo said, the whole episode showed the nation how important international trade with Mexico is to the United States. 

“It told a story that we are dependent on a lot of produce that comes from Mexico. I think a lot of people knew this but now a lot more do. We have different seasons and weather patterns and we cannot grow certain fruits and vegetables in the United States. We have to bring these in from other countries.”

Delgadillo owns a trucking and logistics business at the Texas-Mexico border. 

“From my perspective, that week of inactivity was just a dip. Our position within the border and our proximity to the largest markets in the United States does not change because of the dip. That difference is still there. So, I do not think Pharr will suffer going forward.” 

Delgadillo said the Pharr International Bridge is still the port of entry of choice for thousands of import-export companies. 

“Great service is provided by the brokers, the transportation companies, customs and CBP on both sides of the border. That has helped us get to where we are today. And we still have the advantage of distance to market.”

Delgadillo added: “The decision to inspect the trucks twice was nothing to do with us. We do not control what the governor did. We do not control CBP. We do not control the Mexican side of the border. Although we do work with everybody to make sure everything works smoothly to facilitate the trade and not interfere with the free flow of commerce. 

“The City of Pharr did everything it could to get the issue resolved. The city, the bridge board, our staff worked very hard. This is a just a little bump in the road.”

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