PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Local business owners experienced hour-long traffic jams on the Pharr International Bridge on Friday.
The Pharr Bridge has seen the immediate impact of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order for the Department of Public Safety to conduct “enhanced” inspections of all commercial vehicles at all ports of entry.
The shipping industry is increasingly concerned about the backlog.
“It’s crazy, I just read it myself. We got an email from customs over there saying they are doing level 1 inspections and that it takes about an hour per truck,” said Jonas Hernandez, co-owner of Farmers Marketing Service, a watermelon import business. “So yes, this is deeply affecting us in many ways, not just with wait times, but our food is perishable.”
You are not alone, other business owners waited anxiously outside the Pharr DPS inspection site.
“The trucks don’t come back in time to load,” said Jesus Hernandez, owner of a meat and fruit and vegetable import and export company. “The chicken or pork that gets to the border is late, and now that it’s the weekend, we’re late until Monday. It causes us losses.”
Some truck drivers said they experienced wait times of up to 10 hours, a jump from the usual 3 hours it takes to cross.
Now logistics with customers is a problem.
“So if we promise our customers, our customers anywhere in the United States, a specific time and we have to wait for that fruit to get here, that’s definitely going to cause a problem with logistics,” Jonas Hernandez said.
“Yes, we’re worried because the longer we have to store the products, the more money we’re losing because we can’t charge customers more money than we told them to,” Jesus Hernandez said.
While some agree some level of border security is needed, the move hurts an already strained shipping industry.
“Of course we agree with them, but at the end of the day we have a job to do that suits a lot of our customers,” said Jonas Hernandez.
We have reached out to the Pharr International Bridge but they have no further information to share at this time.