Since 1966, the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company, the owner of the Rio Grande International Bridge in Texas, has been at the forefront of economic development in South Texas, with a clear focus on boosting cross-border trade between Mexico and the United States. This bridge, bordering Camargo, Tamaulipas, has become one of the swiftest routes for Mexican goods to reach the American market.
As a private bridge, it offers numerous benefits to importers and exporters, allowing them to facilitate the passage of double-trailer trucks, oversized shipments, and overweight cargo. Additionally, it provides a joint inspection program for all inbound cargo seven days a week.
Customs services tailored to clients' needs are offered, along with free-use maneuvering yards for users. Flag-waving personnel manage vehicular traffic on the bridge, streamlining the entry of commercial vehicles, passengers, and pedestrians.
Investments and Industries
This border crossing has an approved expansion project for 14 lanes, a critical move given the rise of nearshoring, which demands more entry points. With this expansion, they are well-prepared to accommodate all types of goods, investments, and industries. In Rio Grande, Texas, there are available areas for industrial parks and free trade zones.
In an interview with Mexico Industry, Sam F. Vale, the President of Starr-Camargo Bridge Company, discussed various ongoing plans to address the needs of industries and users. These plans include expanding to 14 commercial lanes, constructing cold storage rooms, providing personalized services, and creating 15-acre spaces for parking and unit maneuvers, among other initiatives.
Economic Development and Prosperity
"We are the first port on the border, following the pilot program they implemented in Nogales, Arizona, for joint inspections where both CBP and ANAM simultaneously review the goods. The experience gained over the years also enables us to stay ahead of growth plans. For example, many years ago, we acquired 15 acres of land that currently serve as a parking area, and we have other spaces for which there are also plans, all in the pursuit of economic development and prosperity not only in Rio Grande City but throughout South Texas."
Starr-Camargo Bridge Company possesses the necessary infrastructure to process an average of 800 trucks daily, offering personalized attention tailored to each user's demands. "Being a private bridge, we have the capacity to respond to any customer's needs with personalized care, a characteristic that sets us apart. We are always monitoring the trucks that cross our bridge until the cargo reaches its destination," added the President.
Impressive Trade Statistics
Mexico is the United States' top trading partner, and in the case of Camargo International Bridge, the statistics reflect crossings with a value of up to $575,325,680. China follows with $3,720,859, India with $1,005,799, Taiwan with $542,775, and Spain with approximately $443,704.
Regarding imports, through joint inspections by the Mexican National Customs Agency (ANAM) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office, imports worth around $711.4 million were reported in 2022.
Bell peppers led the way with a value of $78,506,522. Iron and steel tubes came second with $61,990,839, followed by miscellaneous and mechanical machines with $60,219,513. Flat-rolled iron and steel products ranked fourth with $57,087,726, and fresh vegetables claimed the fifth position with imports totaling $47,379,913.
"We want to see economic development throughout South Texas because if the region thrives in investments, the community also benefits. In the specific case of Rio Grande City, taxes have grown significantly due to imports via the international crossing with Camargo, Tamaulipas. Trade on both sides of the border benefits us all," emphasized Sam F. Vale.
Growth with Nearshoring
President Sam F. Vale's vision for the future of the economy is closely tied to nearshoring and the need for companies to find efficient crossings for goods, raw materials, and finished products. As a result, feasibility studies were conducted by a team of experts to realize the creation of new lanes dedicated to heavy traffic, including overloaded double-trailer units.
Furthermore, they are in the process of constructing cold storage facilities for perishable products within the premises of Starr-Camargo Bridge Company.
"We've understood that to attract economic development, it's not enough to have just the bridge; we also need suitable spaces to carry out projects that cater to investment needs. That's why we are already discussing the possibility of expanding to 14 commercial lanes. The message to investors is that Rio Grande City has everything needed to achieve short-term success. We have over 300 acres of industrial land with prepared infrastructure," he concluded.