Mexican Transportation Law Shelved

May 19, 2003
Although negotiations have taken several years in Mexicos lower house of representatives, the Chamber of Deputies, at last in late April, legislators

Although negotiations have taken several years in Mexico’s lower house of representatives, the Chamber of Deputies, at last in late April, legislators decided to leave the vote on the Law on Federal Cargo Carrying, Auxiliary Services, Roads and Bridges, pending for the next legislature.

Members of the conservative National Action Party demanded more time for analyzing the document. The request, in everyone’s interpretation, was regarded as a joke since all deputies will be leaving in August after the July 3 elections, bringing a new generation of deputies.

There was one major political shift. Since the law also includes passenger transport, for the past three years Deputy Juan Manuel Duarte Davila has been accused of favoring certain clauses favoring passenger carriers. It has become public that his law office represents Mexico’s largest bus company, Estrella Blanca. He has been forced to step down from his post.

The newest deputy to lead the commission is Raul Cervantes of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. He was unable to come up with a consensus among cargo carriers. With him, the passenger lobby subsided but the divide between the National Cargo Carriers Chamber (Canacar) and the three associations of parcel carriers grew only wider. Canacar’s outgoing president Manuel Gomez wants stiffer control of parcel carriers for supplying cargo--not messenger-- service over federal highways. Messenger companies want to be differentiated.

Gomez says that “no nation, except Mexico, provides different treatment to parcel and messenger services, as it is considered cargo transport.” Foreign companies, DHL, FedEx and UPS, oppose this view and want the full range of the law providing them with the right to use federal highways for their deliveries. If they don’t prevail, they’ve threatened to “abandon Mexico.”

Gomez answers, “they’ve been operating with the support of Mexican cargo carriers and bus companies (belly cargo) for years, and will certainly continue to operate under this same scheme without affecting their operations.”

Angel Rivera Manning, president of the Mexican Messenger and Parcel Carriers Association, says that in its present form, the new law would affect mainly messenger companies in small cities throughout Mexico, particularly those already providing service to border maquiladora industries.

The lobbies are stalemated. With new deputies coming in, it will take at least six months before they start getting familiar with the law as it is now, then start considering changes. Experts believe it will be at least a year before the law will once again be discussed.