LAREDO, Texas — Beginning Dec. 7, 2020, empty northbound tractor-trailers, entering the U.S. from Mexico will be routed to the Columbia-Solidarity Bridge as part of a pilot program, according to an announcement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) office of field operations at the Laredo Port of Entry. Bona fide participants in trusted trader programs — CBP-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) — may continue to use the World Trade Bridge, CBP said.
“CBP has experienced a steady increase in commercial traffic at World Trade Bridge over the last decade,” said Eugene Crawford, acting port director for the Laredo Port of Entry. “This redirection of empty tractors and trailers through Colombia-Solidarity Bridge will help greatly to alleviate wait times at World Trade Bridge, provide for a more orderly and efficient facilitation of lawful trade while CBP maintains its robust border security posture and ensures compliance with more than 400 federal laws and regulations.”
The hours of operation to receive northbound empty tractors, trailers, and stakebeds at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge will be from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
According to a press release from CBP, Laredo trade operations leadership has reached out to the international trade community, including customhouse brokers and carrier associations from both the U.S. and Mexico, to discuss and communicate this effort to adjust traffic flow to better facilitate lawful trade in advance of the bulletin’s issuance.
In June 2021, the pilot program to separate empty from laden commercial traffic will be reviewed for effectiveness and a collaborative decision will be made before formally continuing or discontinuing the program.