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Bennett Laredo Terminal Provides Gateway to Mexico
August 22, 2016
When customers tell us we’re doing a great job, it’s such an honor; when I see a heavy haul leaving my yard, it’s breathtaking,” says Jorge Espinoza, who manages Bennett Motor Express’ fast-paced, busy terminal in Laredo, Tex. Bennett Laredo has managed more than 20,000 cross-border shipments to and from Mexico and last year won Bennett’s Terminal of the Year award for business results.
Bennett Motor Express’ Laredo team successfully manages the complexity of cross-border shipping to and from Mexico. Jorge Espinoza, center, is pictured with his team.
Managing the transport of roughly 1,500 to 2,100 loads a year back and forth over the Rio Grande River on the World Trade Bridge, Bennett Laredo is one of the top land ports in the United States. With a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and 3,000 trailers, Bennett Laredo coordinates customs brokers, drayage services and pre-approved Mexican carriers to help manage the complexities of cross-border shipping. All of this with just a small team of seven dedicated, committed bi-lingual employees who are not afraid of hard work and have a passion for customer service, Jorge proudly shares.
Referring to his team as “spartans,” Jorge explains: “We are all a bunch of hard-working people, committed and dedicated. We love what we do. We wake up every single day excited to come in and do something good. My motto is, ‘I take care of my customer.’ A lot of people think my job is easy, but it is actually very hard. I just make it look easy.”
Cross-Border Shipping with Mexico Not Easy
has the second strictest customs brokerage requirements in the world, with the first being Brazil. Jorge’s team must deal with masses of paperwork and chase down small details that other countries don’t require.
Challenges associated with getting shipments to and from Mexico include:
Unresponsive customs brokers. Sometimes Jorge must go physically to the Mexican customs brokers to get the information he needs to process the shipment out of his yard. “They don’t see us as the customer even though we were hired by the customer to manage the shipping,” he explains.
Complying with two completely different shipping systems. In Mexico, there is more distrust and protectiveness, resulting in more layers of approvals, paperwork and bureaucracy. “In America, we can do business via email, but in Mexico we have to present the original documents, so we must invest time and money to take the original paperwork to the people who must review it,” he says.
International traffic. Almost 10,000 trucks cross over the bridge every day, causing a line of bumper-to-bumper 18-wheelers that can go on for as much as 15 miles, Jorge explains. “Much of this delay has to do with the strict Mexican customs requirements,” Jorge says.
Internet shutdowns from too much activity. Almost every Friday, the overwhelming amount of traffic causes one or both of the Internet systems on both sides to overload and crash. “If the systems are down more than an hour, police officers begin to send truckers back to the customs brokers,” Jorge says, “and then we must inform our customers and coordinate all over again.”
Bennett Laredo Team Always Willing to Go Above and Beyond
Despite these challenges, Jorge’s team still manages to process roughly 50 loads a week, operating from a foundation of honesty, passion for the job and a commitment to hard work, Jorge stresses. “It’s our customer service that makes us great,” he says. “We do a lot behind the scenes.”
Jorge’s team is always willing to do the extra, to go above and beyond, delivering whatever the customer needs. Whether they want Jorge to drive them to Mexico to check on loads, or assemble the parts that are needed to fix damaged cargo shipped in from Mexican trucking companies, Jorge and his team are there when customers need them.
“It’s a lot of problem solving,” Jorge says. “It’s very normal to solve problems, which we like to do for our customers. If we have to come early, that’s what we do. If we have to stay late, we stay as late as we must to get the job done. If we are taking our kids to Chuck E. Cheese and the phone rings, we answer because at the end of the day, we have to take care of our customer.”
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