Expansion that will double the capacity for commercial truck traffic at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales will be a boost for local and statewide business, proponents say.
The expansion, adding four commercial truck lanes and eight private vehicle lanes, is expected to be completed by year's end and will allow faster passage for the 1,300 trucks that pass through daily during winter peak season, officials said.
“It means fresh and faster and more business coming to Arizona," said Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. "It means basically looking at eliminating wait times at the old, outdated infrastructure and actually making things moves through our ports and get to grocery stores and restaurants much faster.”
More than 4 billion pounds of Mexican produce enter the United States through Mariposa each year, and it is the primary port of entry for fresh produce.
Upgrades to the port will cost $187 million, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.
Moore said the additional commercial lanes will mean faster delivery for consumers.
“It going to be better for produce because it going to mean that the supply chain is more predictable. It’s faster," she said. "It’s getting to the warehouse, so that if it arrives at 4 o’clock in the afternoon today it can be on a truck at five o’clock in the afternoon today and be on the road and get to stores and consumers much faster.”
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Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said the upgrades are good for Nogales and for the state.
“It will bring more employment, more CPB (Customs and Border Patrol) officers at the port," Garino said. "Another thing that it will bring is employment with the maquiladora industry, with warehousing for the distribution part of it.”
Maquiladoras are manufacturing facilities south of the border, owned by U.S. companies that use Mexico's lower labor costs for final assembly of goods.
The renovations called for the demolition of outdated facilities at the port. There are now new inspection areas and a new commercial inspection dock is being built.
To match the port's new capacity, the Mexican government recently announced a $20 million upgrade to roads and other infrastructure south of the port in Nogales, Sonora. Construction on the Mexican side has yet to start.