International trade in the El Paso area has lost billions of dollars in recent months, and it’s mostly due to those longer wait times at the International Bridges. These major delays are affecting small and big businesses – hurting job stability and growth.
In March, CBP began shifting personnel to manage the influx of migrants seeking asylum. That caused traffic lines to slow down drastically at the El Paso ports of entry, which hurt many local companies that do trade with Mexico.
“Right now, it’s just been in the form of disruptions to that trade and increase costs. But it’s something that’s making a lot of businesses worried and it has probably caused a lot of investment plans to be sidelined, if not canceled,” Tom Fullerton, an economics professor at UTEP, said.
According to a report done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, annual trade across the international bridges in El Paso has dropped just over $4 billion.
The owner of Ambient Logistics LLC, a compliance company for the trucking and fleet industry, told KTSM many clients are facing the impacts.
“I don’t sleep because I worry every day anything that impacts that industry impacts my company,” Veronica Barrera shared, “He (client) told us that he literally had to sell one of his trucks to pay for his insurance for their yearly insurance because of how everything is working right now with the shortage of drivers to know the longer way is to be able to get drivers over to be able to pick up the load and take the loads in and now we have to deal with the consequences of their violations because they’re trying to rush to get to it”
Other risks companies face is the lower demand for labor, since payrolls won’t reach full potential and leaves no choice but to cut some jobs.
“It’s a ripple effect and it’s affecting everything in the industry,” Barrera said, “Because of that, they’re not making enough money so that also trickles down to me because I can’t close contracts like I was closing before in order for me to grow my company.”
President Trump’s 5% tariff threat is also leaving companies concerned. It’s doubling shipments across the border before the deadline on Monday causing more back up at the ports of entry.