Nogales port expansion boosting business and jobs

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Nogales port expansion boosting business and jobs

By Craig Smith. CREATED Apr 7, 2014

NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - Great growing weather in Mexico means a lot of your vegetables are from South of the Border, but getting them North of the Border is often slow going as that booming business bottlenecks in a port that hasn't kept up with demand.  Now there's a solution that will bring more jobs to the area too.

The Federal government doubled the lanes for cargo and people at the port in Nogales but there was some suspense over whether the Port would add enough new inspectors to make those new lanes pay off.

An expensive sticking point is about to come unstuck as Customs and Border Protection hires and trains about 170 new Customs inspectors so the expanded Mariposa Port facility can live up to it's potential.

The tomatoes at J-C Distributing in Nogales, Arizona will end up as far away Canada.
They were picked and packed in Mexico. But getting them to the US has been one of the slowest parts of this food chain. The port choked with more traffic than it was built for.

"Just one truck can handle hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cargo.  The port as originally designed could handle about five hundred trucks per day but was actually processing about fifteen hundred.  The new port, the expanded port should be able to easily handle four thousand."
But business leaders worried new lanes wouldn't mean much without more inspectors.
Now Customs is hiring 170 inspectors.  Along with more lanes, that's enough to make Jaime Chamberlain, add warehouse space and jobs.

"The opportunities for Nogales and for our port of entry are endless now.  We are seeing a lot more avocadoes. A lot more of the papayas and the pineapples a lot of the exotic items that historically had not been coming through Nogales."
Port Authority Chairman Bruce Bracker's family has run Bracker's Department Store since the 1920s. He says helping cargo, and people move through the port can boost business in the whole state.

"This is gonna help retail like us and everybody else in Tucson and Phoenix that depend on Mexican nationals.  It's going to help the Medical industry that depends on Mexican nationals, the finance industry that depends on Mexican Nationals."

Bruce Bracker says quicker border crossing can be very good news for factories on both sides of the border.  He's talking about U-S factories that supply parts to Mexican factories where workers assemble those parts into a final product.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press