Opening a Unique U.S. - Mexico Trade Lane

This FAST lane is the first on the U.S. southern border into California. Other FAST lanes are along the Texas-Mexico border: at El Paso’s Bridge of the Americas and at its Ysleta Bridge. Additional Texas FAST lanes are at the Pharr Reynosa Bridge in Pharr and the World Trade Bridge at Laredo.

Otay Mesa, the second busiest commercial port of entry on the southwest border, now has two northbound lanes. One is the new FAST lane, the other a lane specifically for empty trucks – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that fully 40% of trucks moving north through the port are empty.

For southbound traffic, Mexico has opened an Exprés lane. The Empresas Certificadas (Certified Importers) program under which the Exprés operates gives access to the southbound lane to Mexican importers certified as being very compliant by Mexican Customs. The program is similar to FAST in its aim to allow a freer flow of commercial traffic between the two countries while strengthening security and safety for both.

“FAST and Exprés are excellent examples that security and facilitation are not antonyms,” says Mauricio Mireles, Central Administrator for Planning for Mexico Customs. “On the contrary, they compliment each other very well.”

For northbound traffic, CBP has installed nine radiation portal monitors and one gamma-ray machine, which are used to detect radioactive materials.

CBP Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations, Jayson Ahern, who attended opening ceremonies, noted that, “Once trucks and their drivers become FAST-approved, congestion at Otay Mesa will be dramatically reduced and our inspectors can concentrate on shipments not in the FAST program that could pose a potential risk.”

This FAST lane is the first on the U.S. southern border into California. Other FAST lanes are along the Texas-Mexico border: at El Pasos Bridge of the Americas and at its Ysleta Bridge. Additional Texas FAST lanes are at the Pharr Reynosa Bridge in Pharr and the World Trade Bridge at Laredo. Otay Mesa, the second busiest commercial port of entry on the southwest border, now has two northbound lanes.
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