The US was involved in a long-running NAFTA dispute with Mexico over trucking:

Although the charter of the North American Free Trade Agreement established a schedule that would have opened the border states of the United States to competition from Mexican trucking companies in 1995, and all of the United States to this competition in 2000, the full implementation of these provisions has been delayed due to concerns about the safety of Mexican trucks and drivers. This delay has resulted in much frustration for Mexico, which, in 2009 implemented retaliatory tariffs on products imported from the United States. In March, 2011 the two countries unveiled a deal to resolve this dispute which could help ease tense relations between the two neighbors.

More recently, US truckers have challenged the DOT decision in courts

The Teamsters, along with truck safety groups, sued DOT in March 2015, arguing that a report issued by regulators that deemed Mexican trucks safe enough to operate domestically didn’t pass legal muster because of the program’s low participation rate. A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments on the case on March 15 [of 2017].

Have there been any developments since then? Are Mexican trucks currently still allowed to operate in the US, beyond buffer zone around the border? If so, how much trucking do Mexicans do in the US?

1 Answer 1


Have there been any developments since then? Are Mexican trucks currently still allowed to operate in the US, beyond buffer zone around the border? If so, how much trucking do Mexicans do in the US?

Court sides with DOT in cross-border trucking case, allowing Mexican carriers to continue U.S. operation, July 07, 2017.

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Teamsters Union challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s cross-border trucking program. FMCSA in January 2015 opened the U.S. operating authority application process to all Mexican carriers, prompting the Teamsters’ court challenge.

The Teamsters’ lawsuit, filed in March 2015, alleged FMCSA didn’t generate enough inspection data during its three-year cross-border trucking pilot program to properly make a determination about expanding the program.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sided with the Teamsters Union as an intervenor in the lawsuit, backing the Teamsters’ claim about a lack of data.

A panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, said June 29 that FMCSA has the law-given discretion to grant operating authority to Mexican carriers, data concerns withstanding.

NAFTA replacement would give U.S. the ability to limit cross-border trucking program, October 01, 2018.

Mexican carriers that already have authority would be grandfathered in. According to FMCSA’s website, 41 carriers currently have authority to operate outside of the commercial border zone within the U.S. They’re limited to hauling only cross-border freight, however, and cannot haul a load that originates and ends in the U.S.

Will the new trade deal prevent Mexican trucks from entering the U.S.?, 11/05/2018.

Typically, freight that moves across the border is brought to the border by a Mexican carrier and the trailer is transferred to a U.S.-based carrier, but not all freight moves are like that. In 1999, 4.3 million Mexican trucks cross the border into the U.S. By 2008, that had risen only to 4.8 million. The majority of those remained in the commercialization zone. In 2017, there were 6,039,774 total truck crossings between the U.S. and Mexico.


To date, only 41 Mexican carriers have applied for and been accepted into the program. The largest carrier, Trans-Mex Inc. has 188 vehicles and 255 drivers in the program. Only two other carriers, Transportes Olympic De Mexico, with 78 vehicles and 78 drivers, and GCC Transporte SA, with 50 vehicles and 39 drivers, have more than 21 vehicles involved. Twenty-two of the carriers operate fewer than 3 vehicles.

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