April 2021 US/MX Cross-Border Update

April 2021 US/MX Cross-Border Update

Mexico to US Peak Produce Season is here!

Every year, for at least the last 15 years, the second quarter proves challenging for northbound freight.  Produce season typically begins in April and 2021 has proved to be very punctual right out of the gates the first week of the month.

What are the effects of peak produce season? 

For the next three months, securing capacity for northbound shipments will be more difficult than normal. The variables associated with the already unbalanced ratio of northbound trucks vs. southbound moving from the border to the interior of Mexico is a challenge within itself.

Before peak season, we noticed different issues and solutions to the existing market:

  • Lack of equipment in Mexico to load direct loads into the US:  the market shifted towards moving empty equipment (US trailers) from the border to the shipping locations in Mexico. This alternative was not common in prior years. But it was needed due to the lack of capacity during 2020 and Q1 2021. 
  • Lack of CDL drivers out of Laredo: the market again shifted towards the utilization of B1 Visa drivers departing from Mexico and using the same driver door to door. It’s a good supplement to the lack of CDL drivers but it’s not an entire solution.
  • Border dray drivers shifting careers from local moves to B1 driver long haul moves. This helped the prior issue but dug a new hole in the availability of drivers to perform border crossings. For the first time in over 20 years of “fixed or flat” rates for this type of service, there was a generalize increase in cost. On average, we saw jumps from $110-$160+ per move. Large volume shippers who tried to stick to their prior pricing saw their shipments sit at the border for 3-5 days longer than before.

If you have northbound freight, there are three models/options the market can offer: 

  1. Direct load from Mexico shipper to destination. This was the preferred method for any shipper in the past but the hardest to obtain.
  2. Transload (Mexico to US trailer) in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico using a B1 driver for the border dray and US line haul.
  3. Transload (Mexico to US trailer) in Laredo, Texas. Using a CDL driver from Laredo to final destination in the US.

Sunset can provide any of the three options listed above, but because of peak produce season, we strongly suggest northbound shippers be open to models #2 and #3.  Contact LaredoBranch@SunsetTrans.com to strategize how to best navigate these challenges in Q2. 


Sunset’s cross-border offices in Laredo, TX, Nuevo Laredo, MX and Queretaro, MX are committed to providing timely information relevant to cross-border shippers direct from our offices in key trade areas. Led by Managing Director Jose Minarro, our cross-border team is available to consult, arrange, and execute your US/MX moves.