By STEVE TAYLOR | Posted: Friday, December 26, 2014 5:32 pm
SAN BENITO, RGV – The Los Indios Free Trade Bridge south of San Benito has great potential as a crossing point for imported fresh produce – if security can be improved on the Mexican side.
To this end, Cameron County and the cities of Harlingen and San Benito, who jointly own the bridge, are working directly with an official within the state government of Tamaulipas to try to get improved public safety measures installed.
“There are two main segments that need improving,” said Salomon Torres, executive director of San Benito Economic Development Corporation. “There is a very short three-and-a-half mile segment from the bridge to the interstate on the Mexican side. And there is the interstate segment between Rio Bravo and Matamoros. All of that area is very rural and unprotected as far as public safety patrols are concerned.”
Pictured at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit are Ramiro Aleman of Harlingen EDC, Tony Rodriguez of the Port of Brownsville, and Salomon Torres of San Benito EDC.
Torres believes Tamaulipas state officials will make public safety leading to Los Indios Free Trade Bridge a greater priority as international trade increases in South Texas. He bases his optimism on the participation of Raúl Sepúlveda, the Tamaulipas secretary of economic development and tourism, at a three-day gathering of Cameron County and Mazatlán officials in September. The state of Sinaloa is considered the bread basket of Mexico and a new superhighway linking Mazatlán to Matamoros is becoming a popular route for trucking firms that bring fresh produce from Sinaloa destined for the east coast of the United States.
Torres said it was clear from the visit of the Mazatlán officials and from a big fresh produce trade show held in Anaheim, California, held in October, that produce companies and distributors are interested in the crossing points Cameron County has to offer.
“The Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh summit in Anaheim was a real eye-opener for all of us who want to expand trade with Mexico and import more produce. It was massive,” Torres said.