Mexican motor carriers may apply for long-haul operating authority in near future

According to information provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Mexican motor carriers will soon have the opportunity to apply for authority to conduct long-haul, cross-border trucking services in the United States.

The policy change is expected to result in the permanent termination of more than $2 billion in annual retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods and follows a three-year pilot program that tested and validated the safety of Mexican trucking companies to operate long-haul in the U.S. The Department also submitted a report to Congress with findings from the pilot program that concluded in October.

Pilot program

The Department indicated that 15 trucking companies from Mexico enrolled in the pilot. The pilot carriers:

  • crossed the border more than 28,000 times,
  • traveled more than 1.5 million miles in-country, and
  • underwent more than 5,500 safety inspections by American officials.

The USDOT collected data on the pilot carriers, along with an additional 952 Mexican-owned trucking companies that also operated long-haul in the U.S. during the same 36-month period under a pre-existing authority. USDOT claims that its statistics show Mexican-domiciled carriers met the same level of safety as American and Canadian-domiciled motor carriers.

Application process

Companies from Mexico that apply for long-haul operating authority will be required to pass a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit to confirm they have adequate safety management programs in place, including systems for monitoring hours-of-service and to conduct drug testing using an HHS-certified lab. Additionally, all drivers must possess a valid U.S. Commercial Driver’s License or a Mexican Licencia Federal de Conductor, and must meet the agency’s English language proficiency requirements.

Like Canadian companies that are granted U.S. operating authority, carriers and drivers from Mexico are required to comply with all laws and regulations, including regular border and random roadside inspections. Once the motor carrier is approved, their vehicles will be required to undergo a 37-point North American Standard Level 1 inspection every 90 days for at least four years.

American trucking companies have been able to apply and operate long-haul in Mexico through North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since 2007. Currently, five U.S. companies use this authority to transport international goods into Mexico.


From JJ Keller