PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Some local economists predict other parts of Texas’ economy will be negatively impacted following trade congestion at Texas-Mexico’s ports of entry.
“It’s not that one port had a loss, you have to add up all the losses that occur across the Texas-Mexico border,” said Salvador Contreras, an associate professor of economics at the University of Texas RGV. “And then you have to also keep in mind we are already at really high inflation levels in the U.S.”
One of the RGV’s major ports for imports, the Pharr International Bridge, released they lost $1 billion in trade value in about one week after Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Department of Public Safety to inspect every commercial vehicle traveling through Texas-Mexico ports of entry.
Contreras added that inflation has reached record heights since the 1980s and said delays in shipping at the borders could only make it worse.
Other costs associated with shipping delays would cost billions at ports across the Valley, according to Contreras.
“In 2021 for example about $60 billion crossed in from Mexico to RGV ports. The RGV for example handles roughly about $20 billion of perishable produce,” said Contreras. “The port of Hidalgo which includes Pharr moved around $37 billion in 2021.”
Mayor of the city of Pharr, Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., said in a Friday press release:
“…When we saw the impact that the governor’s directive was having on our international commerce, causing significant delays and millions in economic losses, we knew we had to take immediate action and work with our partners to promote a swift resolution of the issue.”
This statement was released after the written agreement between the states Tamaulipas, Mexico and Texas on Friday where Abbott dropped the inspection requirements, and Tamaulipas will enforce more border security measures. We reached out to the Pharr bridge director Luis Bazan, but he declined to interview.
On Monday afternoon, the Pharr International Bridge camera systems showed both lanes coming into Texas full and with steady movement.
Contreras added if traffic continues, trade could be lost to ports of entry elsewhere in the country.
“Another way in which you get to losses is some of these goods might be diverted to other ports especially if they’re coming from the pacific or deep in Mexico maybe they’re diverted to ports closer to the west coast,” said Contreras.
Semana Santa, or Holy week, for many Mexican tourists, includes visiting the Valley, but Contreras believes tourism could also be impacted.
“It’s very likely that many would-be tourists were deterred from coming into our area,” said Contreras.