NGFA to Continue Efforts to Prevent Future Rail Crossing Closures

Since publication of the latest NGFA Newsletter, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the reopening of railroad crossings at Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 22 following a shutdown that lasted five days.

CBP had announced it would temporarily close the crossings beginning early on Dec. 18 “after observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains.”

Once CBP announced the closures, NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) worked with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to convince the Department of Homeland Security and CBP of the importance of reopening these crossings to agriculture trade between the United States and Mexico.

The closure of the two rail crossings immediately impacted the flow of grain and oilseeds for both human and livestock feed. According to USDA data, rail represents 64 percent of grain and oilseed exports to Mexico, including 15,565,138 MTs of grains and oilseeds exported via rail in 2021 and 3.45 MTs of grains and oilseeds in the third quarter of 2023.

“We call on the governments of the United States and Mexico to continue to dialogue and to put in place measures on both sides of the border to ensure this does not happen again,” NGFA and NAEGA noted in a Dec. 22 press release after CBP announced it would reopen the crossings. “The free flow of trade across the border is critical to food security for our countries and the region at large. A plan must be in place to keep the border open to commerce between our nations.”

NGFA will continue to work with federal officials and members of Congress to ensure a plan is in place to avoid shutting down rail commerce between the U.S. and Mexico if the government must take emergency actions to address increasing migrant numbers at the border.

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