Spanning the banks of the Rio Grande River, the Pharr International Bridge represents the busiest conduit of produce from Reynosa, Mexico to Pharr Texas. It is a critical point for the flow of produce, and even more important going forward during a global pandemic.
In an interview with Hortidaily, Tony Martinez explained that the COVID-19 crisis heightened the importance of the bridge, with year-end records showing an increase in traffic. He’s vice-chair of the bridge board.
According to Luis Bazan, bridge director, April 2020 turned out better than expected with a loss of 13 per cent loss of truck traffic compared to the 30-40 per cent anticipated. He says that traffic dipped only in April and May, then rebounded with traffic spikes in some months.
Looking ahead, he expects January through March 2021will see record traffic flow, with avocadoes and berries representing the highest-value commodities.
The bridge is destined to grow in importance with construction underway on two additional north-bound lanes on the bridge. This project should be completed by March 2022. It will offer gate-to-gate service for trucks to be checked electronically. Some trucks will be pre-certified, not necessarily for produce, but alleviating a bottleneck so that 800 trucks per day won’t be handled directly by Customs and Border Protection crews.
A twin bridge is now greenlighted for completion in mid-to late summer 2023. It’s all part of a Texas-Mexico Border Master Plan that will set new standards for logistics.
Source: Hortidaily January 14, 2021