Prompt border clearances for U.S. pork are imperative

On an average weekday nearly 4,000 metric tons of pork is trucked into Mexico, with a daily value of about $6 million.


Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

via National Hog Farmer - May 11, 2022


With Mexico being the leading destination for U.S. pork exports and Canada consistently ranking in the top four, enormous volumes are trucked across each border on a daily basis. The vast majority of shipments arrive without delay, but recent impasses at both the north and south borders cast a spotlight on how much product is at risk when border crossings don't go as planned.


Most U.S. pork destined for Mexico transits through Texas where Governor Greg Abbott issued an order in early April requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct additional inspections on commercial trucks entering Texas from Mexico as part of an initiative against illegal immigration. Initially these inspections caused delays for northbound trucks, but the policy prompted blockades by Mexican truckers and other protesters who blocked southbound traffic at key points of entry into Mexico. The situation was further complicated by the approaching Easter holiday, with U.S. pork exporters working to move shipments across the border before inspection points closed for Good Friday.


Fortunately this dispute was relatively short-lived, as over the next several days Abbott reached border security agreements with governors of each of the four Mexican states containing border crossings. The additional inspections were suspended and the protests disrupting southbound traffic ceased.


This came as a great relief to the U.S. pork industry, as on an average weekday nearly 4,000 metric tons of pork is trucked into Mexico, with a daily value of about $6 million. Pork is typically shipped to Mexico chilled not frozen which makes prompt border clearance even more imperative. Delays are especially problematic for chilled pork cuts and variety meats destined for further processing, which are mostly shipped in combo bins and less protected from spoilage than cuts boxed for distribution to the retail or foodservice sectors.


Exporters faced a similarly troubling situation at the Canadian border...