“Mexico is one of our largest trading partners and it is critical that we prevent terrorists from infiltrating the commercial chain to launch an attack,” said Tom Ridge, outgoing secretary of Homeland Security as he and Santiago Creel, Mexico’s interior secretary, opened dedicated lanes for cargo trucks at the Calexico border crossing.
Carriers enrolled in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative will have access to the FAST (Free and Secure Trade) lanes from Mexico into the Calexico port’s east cargo facility.
Secretary Creel commented that Mexico and the U.S. are jointly implementing mechanisms that face the new challenges as good neighbors, trade partners and friends do. “Through these joint efforts, we are protecting our economic prosperity and providing enhanced security to our people,” he said.
FAST is an expedited clearance program for known low-risk cargo shipments. The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to harmonize processes for clearance of commercial shipments in accordance with the U.S.-Mexico Border Partnership Declaration. The Calexico port of entry has enrolled nearly 500 drivers.
Calexico is the sixth port of entry on the southern U.S. border to dedicate a FAST lane. Similar FAST lanes have opened in Laredo, Pharr, Brownsville and El Paso, Texas. Together, these ports account for over 90% of the commercial traffic on the U.S.-Mexico border.