Navistar reverses direction, DOT bewilders Mexican truckers, U.S. pledges support for intelligent transportation

Across the border

Navistar reverses direction
Truck manufacturer Navistar International (www.navistar.com) has cancelled its plan to move its production unit from Chatham, Ontario, Canada, to its facility in Escobedo, near Monterrey, Mexico.

In October 2002, the U.S.-owned company announced it was shutting down its Canadian facility to save more than $40 million in operational costs. The move was to leave 2,200 Canadian plant workers unemployed.

After protracted negotiations with the local union, backed by the Canadian government, Navistar opted to keep the Chatham plant operating.

Oziel Salinas Arizpe, general manager at the Escobedo plant, says the Mexican facility was ready to increase operations by 60% over current capacity but, “It turned out to be a project that just wasn’t to be.”

Since it began operations in 1998, the Escobedo plant has churned out more than 50,000 light and heavy trucks. Navistar’s plans are to increase its capacity in 2004.

“The Escobedo plant continues to be very strong,” says Salinas Arizpe. “In fact, we are Mexico’s largest truck exporter.”

DOT bewilders Mexican truckers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) appropriation of $46.7 million to enhance entry check points for Mexican trucks in the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California has bewildered everyone in Mexico, since there are no plans by Mexican truckers to go into the U.S.
Still, DOT secretary Norman Mineta insists, “President Bush’s Administration is committed to put in practice, in an expeditious manner, the chapter on trucks and buses under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”
Texas will get most of the funding.
The question remains, though: Who are these facilities for?

U.S. pledges support for intelligent transportation
The U. S. Government has pledged to donate $431,000 dollars to Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) to develop a national architecture for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
The money is to be issued through non-refundable loans, and will be earmarked to help improve productivity and safety on Mexican roads. LT


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October, 2003

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